Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Opens July 18th
It's hard to describe the life of someone as notorious as Dr. Hunter S. Thompson... a man who chased the American Dream through the turmoil of the 60s and 70s, only to find it had already been hunted down and 'killed by swine'. With the remains of the dream festering in the wake of the 2004 Bush/Kerry election, it seems natural that a man living so close to the edge should finally fall off.
Chronicling the events leading up to and following Thompson's 2005 suicide, Alex Gibney's Gonzo: The Life and work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson takes a deep stab at trying to explain the phenomenon of Gonzo journalism and the brilliance of Hunter Thompson, from birth to demise. For a man "living on borrowed time", Hunter S. Thompson sure had one hell of a ride.
Narrated by Johnny Depp, Gibney's Gonzo: The Life and work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson examines Thompson though his own writing, as well as dozens of interviews with the prominent figures in his life. I'm a pretty devout fan, but this movie had some great insights into Hunter's work with the Hell's Angels, as well as the McGovern and Carter election campaigns.
The director blends together archival footage from Thompson's personal and professional life, including the infamous tape recordings he made in the 'field'. Actually the film has a very artistic flow for a rather solid research documentary, which features interviews with Ralph Steadman (Gonzo artist and close companion), Thompson's first and second wives, his son Juan, and influentials such as Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, and Jimmy Buffet.
The movie is an authentic trip through bat country, and having Johnny Depp read for the absent Thompson is eerily fitting... like the man is participating in his own post-mortem. I strongly advise anyone who loves, hates, or never understood Hunter S. Thompson to buy a ticket and take this ride.
Gibney's Gonzo: The Life and work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson opens July 18th at the Cumberland Theatre in Toronto, and is distributed by Mongrel Media.
Photos: Whitewhale and Morgacito on flickr, woodstockfilmfestival.com
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