(15) 120mins

Director: Bruce Robinson

Starring: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard, Giovanni Ribisi

IT’S always good to see an actor given a chance to show his/her skill and Johnny Depp certainly shines in this rather unusual movie.

True, there are definite Cap’n Jack Sparrow moments as Depp’s character drinks all manner of alcohol beverages. But there again, how many different ways can you play being drunk anyway?

This is a character-driven film, and as such might test some people’s patience as there’s no real plot to speak of.

We meet Kemp (Depp) as he arrives to work on the local paper in Puerto Rico.

It is the 1950s and the island is full of Americans hoping the make a quick buck, while the locals are regarded little more than a nuisance.

The film is based on the book by Hunter S Thompson, though one of the fiercest criticisms so far has been that the novel is far better - a familiar comment.

Kemp pals up with a photographer on the paper (Rispoli) and also meets the religious affairs correspondent Moburg, a dishevelled alcohol infused reprobate brilliantly played by Ribisi.

And then there’s some dodgy business dealing involving Eckhart’s character Sanderson, plus a love interest with Sanderson’s girlfriend Chenault (Heard).

If this sounds a little confusing then that’s because, for the most part, it is.

We are taken off on one plot strand which suddenly hits a wall, and then move straight to another which also falls apart.

On the plus side, though, there are some excellent comic moments as Kemp tries his best to fit into the Puerto Rican world.

Watch out for a drug-induced tongue hallucination, though, it may give you nightmares.

three out of five stars

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld CrawleyGoogle