xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
In the early 1960s, after he had discovered booze but before he had stumbled across drugs, the young Hunter S. Thompson got an uncertain start in journalism. By the time he was 20, he had already been fired as a copy boy for Time magazine for "insubordination" and from the Middletown (N.Y.) Daily Record for destroying the office candy machine. He moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, seeking a job on the San Juan Star, where he was turned down.
This career path looks marginally sunnier in "The Rum Diary," based on a novel he wrote in the early 1970s. The story goes that Johnny Depp found the manuscript among Thompson's papers in his Colorado cabin on Woody Creek, and was instrumental in getting it published and now produced as a film. The writer-director, Bruce Robinson, was a good choice, having already directed a landmark, "Withnail & I" (1987) about an alcoholic who was Thompson's equal — or inferior, or superior, whichever fits.
The film opens as the ambitious young hero Paul Kemp (Depp), sporting a white suit, a straw hat and the dark glasses Thompson would wear for a lifetime, applies for a reporting job at the Star. It doesn't appear to be the kind of paper that attracted the ambitious in those days. Lotterman (Richard Jenkins), the editor, spots him for trouble and immediately asks him how much he drinks. "The high end of social."
He is the only applicant for the job and gets it. He falls in with Sala (Michael Rispoli), the paper's veteran photographer, and Moburg (Giovanni Ribisi), a shambling wreck who has been fired but still hangs round the newspaper office. San Juan in those days appears to have been a lively little metropolis in which a reporter on an English-language newspaper was a stranger in a strange land. One of Kemp's stories concerns Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart), a property developer who has grown rich through shady deals, and occupies a palatial beach home where he entertains local investors.