Gonzo: The Life and Works of Dr. Hunter Thompson DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 7.0
Video 7.5
Audio 6.5
Special Features 7.5
Total 7.0
Distributor: Roadshow
Running Time: 120 minutes
Classification: M15+
Reviewer:
Jamie Kirk

7.5


Gonzo: The Life and Works of Dr. Hunter Thompson

Gonzo: The Life and Works of Dr. Hunter Thompson is a documentary film directed by Alex Gibney. Gibney foraged through hundreds of hours of footage, journals, books and audio tapes to present a complete picture of the notorious inventor of gonzo journalism. The film chronicles many of the important aspects of Thompsonís life, from his stay with the Hells Angels, the journey which eventually became Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, his time on the McGovern campaign trail, and even his time running for Sheriff in Aspen.

Gibney obviously had quite a passion for the man, as there is lots of care and effort put into the feature. Gibney has interviewed many people close to Thompson including his two wives, his son, George McGovern, Tom Wolfe, and good friend and illustrator Ralph Steadman. These were all sought out after Thompsonís death and so many of the tales are highly reverential, it is clear that the man left a mark on all of them. In fact, if there was a complaint to be made about the film it would perhaps be that it was too reverential. Thompsons famous dark side, his mood swings and outbursts, his drug use, and obsession with guns, are all documented at some point in the film, yet are never really gone into as deep as they could be. It seems that the film would rather paint Thompson as an American hero, with a few eccentricities, than deeply study his darker moments.

However this feature never states that its purpose is to study the darkness inside of Hunter Thompson. Instead it wishes to celebrate the life of the man, and embrace his contribution to the field of journalism. Gibney has also presented never before heard audio tapes of the man, taken from phone messages, and his own tape recorder. These give an interesting insight into the way Thompson worked, his disregard for rules, and his sometimes harsh temperament. The movie is also bolstered by effective narration by Johnny Depp, who portrayed Thompson in the film version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Depp is usually reading lines from Thompsons works, but instead of just going over them, he delivers a performance of his own that makes the words come to life. Extracts from the film and Deppís performance in it are also used, and sometimes contrasted with the actual footage of Thompson in his search for the American dream. The fantastic soundtrack, which covers many famous counter culture bands of the period, also gives the film more punch, and lends itself well to the various milestones that occurred during Thompsonís life and career.

The disc comes with a good array of special features. Leading the pack is a commentary by writer and director Alex Gibney. Gibney talks about his research process and his experiences making the film. He also tells us his own opinions of Hunter S Thompson. There are also several extended interviews that were cut from the movie for time that are worth a browse. An interesting feature is the Gonzo Tape audio excerpts, which show Hunters persona well. There is also a gallery of Ralph Steadmanís illustrations, a photo gallery, and a music video.

Gonzo: The Life and Works of Dr Hunter S Thompson is an interesting overview of the manís life that perhaps could have gone deeper into his inner workings. His depression and rage, culminating in his eventual suicide are never fully examined. As a look at Thompsonís life and career, it is an interesting start point for people to get acquainted with the man. For people hoping for a more interesting psychological look, there isnít much to be found here that people didnít already know. However Gibney has put together a nice celebration of one of Americaís greatest journalistic figures.

DVD Special Features

Commentary by director Alex Gibney
Music video
Audio excerpts
Extended interviews
Deleted scenes
"gonzo" art
Photo Gallery






 
 



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