Review of Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson written and directed by Alex Gibney
Rating *** 1/2
I have not read any of Hunter Thompson's work. He was before my time. But this film gives a very rounded look at a unique individual with a unique voice. The film covers Hunter Thompson from the early sixties through his death by suicide in the mid seventies.
The film interweaves footage of Hunter along with interviews and some bazaar recreations. Few writers have as much video coverage as Hunter did. Hunter Thompson was very much the voice of the sixties as was Bob Dylan and other sixties radicals. His main flaw was an addiction to alcohol and drugs and, according to those close to him, depression.
Johnny Depp narrates part of the film by reading Hunter Thompson's own words. The overall effect of the various pieces makes for a smooth telling of this somewhat tragic story. Since part of Hunter's career involved covering political campaigns for Rolling Stone magazine, there are guest appearances by several prominent politicians including George McGovern, Gary Hart, and Jimmy Carter. The piece with Jimmy Carter was my favorite. Hunter had gone to a speech of Jimmy Carter's with no intention of writing anything let alone paying attention. But when Jimmy Carter started talking about the inequities of the Justice system, Hunter ran for his tape recorder. He became a supporter of Jimmy Carter.
The CD had some extras including an audio commentary