Hunting a literary legend…
Journalist and novelist Hunter S Thompson is so revered that it would take a confident filmmaker to do justice to such a colourful career. Luckily, Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Darkside) is such a man.
Gibney provides a thoroughly entertaining look at the man, his work and his legacy, with an impressive repertoire of talking heads interspersed with home movies and passages from Thompson’s body of work, all linked with enthusiastic narration from Johnny Depp.
Fuelled by copious amounts of drink and drugs, and both motivated and hindered by depression, Thompson’s unique writing style – his so-called Gonzo journalism – saw him win huge audiences with his outspoken, brutally observed social and political commentary. Part of his appeal was that he stopped at nothing to get under the skin of his subjects, to scratch away at the hidden truths about those in the public eye. Thompson did for the written word what the Rolling Stones had done for rock ‘n’ roll, a dirty sexy idol for those looking to tread a different literary path.
Gibney does justice to all sides of Thompson; the family man, the rock star and the manic-depressive, without passing comment or judgement. By letting his colourful subject speak for himself, through the personal testimonies of friends and relations, Gonzo is an intimate portrait of a character who was truly larger than life.
Gibney provides an excellent, in-depth commentary, detailing his motives for making the documentary, and there are also extended interviews and scenes. There’s also a UK exclusive interview with Gibney, plus drawings by long-time Thompson collaborator Ralph Steadman, featurette, gallery and trailer. 4 stars
Director Alex Gibney
Running Time 2hrs (approx)
Distributor Optimum Home Entertainment
Released April 13th