Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S Thompson
- Paul Dale
- 11 December 2008
Alex Gibney’s informative new documentary about the photojournalist and socio-political chronicler’s turbulent life and work obviously involved a lot of extra-curricular activity.
Mapping Thompson’s trajectory from Twain and Fitzgerald inspired youngster, through his dark dealings with the Hell’s angels, Richard Nixon and Americans politics to his death and the day his toxin-riddled ashes were fired skywards in a rocket, Gibney has been nothing, if not thorough. Everyone from Tom Wolfe to Ralf Steadman and Johnny Depp are wheeled out to recall the mischievous outlaw journalist while Gibney utilises intimate, never-before-seen home videos, fancy split screen rostrum and animation work to paint a portrait more revealing than ever of the comic American writer.
There’s some really interesting stuff here on Thompson’s attempt to be elected Sheriff of Aspen, the 1972 Campaign trail with Democrat senator George McGovern, the sexual promiscuity committed in the house he shared with his wife and children and the years of decline.
But there are also plenty of annoying bits – Depp reading out excerpts of Thompson’s Rolling Stone articles, as if they were Shakespearean sonnets is just embarrassing and the many excerpts from the films adapted from his work are at best unnecessary. On the whole though, if you are new to Thompson’s work or just needing a refresher course, Gibney’s film is a testament to the objectional whirlwind of Thompson’s life.
Selected release from Fri 19 Dec.