Saturday 27 December 2008

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2008) - ickleReview (cinema)

"Meejay Dr. Gonzo" by Ralph Steadman.

Documentary about Hunter S. Thompson, "journalist" and writer whose drug-fuelled style became known as "gonzo". He wrote books and articles about the Hell's Angels motorcycle gangs; running for sheriff in Aspen, Colorado; and the 1972 presidential election campaign. He drank and got high on drugs and therefore appeared to write more about his hallucinations than the reality that other people were seeing. At the time, this is precisely what made him a celebrity. Johnny Depp played him in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) and reads some extracts of his work for this documentary. There are numerous other talking heads, including Senator George McGovern, who won the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972, Jimmy Carter, and Thompson's friends, wives, and employers. The best visual parts of the film are the illustrations by Ralph Steadman, which often accompanied Thompson's pieces in Rolling Stone magazine. Thompson eventually committed suicide in 2005 by shooting himself with one of his many guns. A huge monument was erected on his estate featuring the gonzo symbol of a fist with two thumbs.

The most interesting thing I learned is that the Doonesbury comic character Duke is based on Thompson.

Nugget: I'm not really interested in Hunter S. Thompson, so this film was always going to be of limited value to me.

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