As documentary tributes come, this one is pretty extravagant, considering that the iconic author-journalist-adventurer-madman was only depicted twice onscreen: in the uncomfortably literal and clumsy Where the Buffalo Roam and Terry Gilliam's phenomenal adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Still, Thompson's life and bibliography are provided brief but adequate mention herein, and while the subject matter is decidedly limited, it's compensated by a choice selection of photographs, archival footage and interviews with the man's literary contemporaries, numerous film stars, sheriff, illustrator and widow, all of whom knew him well from longstanding and involved friendships.
HST fans will learn little to nothing new about their hero here, but even the initiated should enjoy this well-produced (albeit rote) account of Thompson's uneasy and conflict-driven flirtation with celebrity. Narrated by a gravelly-voiced Nick Nolte and featuring titles illustrated by Ralph Steadman in his inimitable style, this is an impressively slick dedicatory overview of a man whose talent and behavior propelled him into the kind of fame that he was fundamentally averse to. Unfortunately, too few of his real-life exploits - which directly informed both his stories and their onscreen realizations - are discussed, and as a result, this is a bit limp. Thompson was equally petty and profound, cruel and compassionate. It's understandable that his friends wouldn't want to discuss this and that so little of his uglier side is evident from his public persona, but in barely mentioning this very significant aspect of Thompson as both a person and a writer, this documentary rarely strays from a one-dimensional evaluation of its subject. Still, it's hard not to be moved by the ancient and weathered Harry Dean Stanton as he reads a letter and sings Danny Boy to his late friend. Regardless of his many faults and vices, nobody can claim that Hunter Stockton Thompson was unable to inspire lovely sentiment in those who knew him.
I was wondering whether to give this documentary two or three stars and gave it the benefit of the doubt. The documentary starts off on shaky ground with an annoying split screen, and a segment of Gary Busey's ego getting in the way. It focuses on the two movies made of Hunter S. Thompson's life, 'Where The Buffalo Roam' from 1980 and 'Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas' in 1998. There isn't much information on Thompson during the decade inbetween movies. The interviews with … more
Documentary of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson Hosted by Nick Nolte Starring Johnny Depp, Gary Busey, John Cusack, Benicio Del Toro, Bill Murray, Sean Penn Directed by Tom Marksbury Writers: Tom Marksbury 2006