Film Reviews

GONZO: The Life and Work Of Dr. Hunter S.Thompson

Optimum Releasing

Gonzo‘, no I am not talking about the lovable blue alien character from the Muppets, by ‘Gonzo’ we are referring to the release of the two hour documentary film into the life and works of Hunter S. Thompson.

Directed by Alex Gibney and narrated by Johnny Depp, the release probes into all corners of Thompson life, the good and also the bad including his adventures and his low points. Thompson viewed life as a challenge so pushed all boundaries, aiming to get the most out of life and experience all he could. In conversations with family, and friends including his wives, children and various magazine editors taken out of passages from unpublished manuscripts, home movies, audiotapes and interviews, we are given an in depth look at the life this writer lived. From his childhood to his last days, we get an overview of what his life was like; a man of two sides, a caring family man and a drug addicted writer.

From dope to acid, his experiences in the Rock’n’Roll 1960’s detail some very shocking moments. We are given a taste of his hunting and gun hobbies. Probably the most disturbing of the films facts is Thompson’s running with the Hell’s Angels. Spending a lot of time with the motor cycle gang and getting in deep with such characters and events must have events must have been quite a disturbing experience and something that would have had a lasting impact on Thompson’s life; his book ‘Hell’s Angels‘ was written out of these adventures.

Other aspects that are included in this feature are his look into the death of the American Dream, his bid for the Sheriff’s office in Aspen, his involvement in the presidential campaign for Senator George McGovern and his novel ‘Fear and Loathing in Last Vegas‘, for which he is probably most well known for.

One of the talked about aspects for Thompson is his invention of Gonzo journalism, a style of writing where Thompson often put himself into the story. However, even though this is supposedly a large element of Thompson’s life, it is only really briefly talked about and never given much depth, which I was quite disappointed about. His death on the other hand was something this feature pays a lot of attention to; just as Thompson did before he died. Some people as his first wife states believe to take his life at that particular point was ‘a strong and noble act’; you would have to decide this for yourself after viewing.

There are very few journalists that can lead a life as Thompson did and be remembered in light. He may have had his down points but will always be remembered and this documentary is the perfect way to outline the ups and downs of the creator of GONZO.

Michelle Moore