The Rum Diary Directed by: Bruce Robinson Starring: Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, Aaron Eckhart Rating: R Release Date: October 28, 2011
TRAILER SCORE: 7/10
Thoughts by TSR: Where do I begin? There's a lot to digest here. The trailer starts out modestly enough, and as it unfolds becomes more and more frenetic, more and more enticing.
I would have given this trailer a higher score, as it did succeed in the whetting of my filmic appetite, but alas, a 7/10 is all I can muster -- I've heard some big-time negative rumblings about this film (I have a close friend who worked on the film, an informant, let's call him), and it's all too much to ignore. Via my informant, I learned that this film has tested with audiences appallingly (on many different occasions), and that for the longest time The Rum Diary couldn't find a single studio interested in distribution/exhibition rights. It's my understanding that this film wrapped quite some time ago, and that no studio would even dream of approaching it for further inspection. It's just THAT bad. Crazy, right?
I was disappointed to hear such, and I'm disappointed to communicate such, and I imagine many of you reading this are disappointed to learn such. Still, I suppose these "negative rumblings" could be unwarranted, perhaps the informant's information was errant. I trust the guy, but hey, let's hope.
So, moving on...
This trailer definitely has a lot of excellent selling points. The cast is phenomenal (another reason why I was entirely flummoxed by my informant's news). Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, Aaron Eckhart, Giovanni Ribisi, Richard Jenkins. All big names in the world of cinema, and deservedly so. The source material should be solid enough too, as the film is based on Hunter S. Thompson's debut novel. If you thought Depp's voiceover at the beginning of the trailer was reminiscent of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, this would be the reason why.
I suppose the question to ask is: if this film is really as bad as my informant's tips might indicate, then who's to blame? Director Bruce Robinson would be the most obvious target, as he's the captain of the ship here, and does have a relatively weak directorial resume -- his last picture was 1992's Jennifer 8, an epic directorial hiatus of 19 years.
We'll have to see the picture though before we start tossing darts Robinson's way. And all of this mumbo-jumbo aside, I am reserving some optimism, and it's an optimism that's been reinforced by this excellent trailer. Well done, trailer-makers.