Documentary shines a light on life of Hunter S. Thompson

The documentary about Hunter S. Thompson, shown, is narrated by friend and actor Johnny Depp.

Magnolia Pictures

The documentary about Hunter S. Thompson, shown, is narrated by friend and actor Johnny Depp.

The current election climate could use Hunter S. Thompson's lacerating, hallucinatory analysis, sorting through flip-flops and lipstick quips. Thompson deprived us of his uniquely patriotic insight when he pressed a shotgun to his head in 2005 and pulled the trigger.

The anarchistic spirit we're missing is captured in the Alex Gibney documentary Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, playing Wednesday through Sept. 26 exclusively at Tampa Theatre. A full review will be published Wednesday on Etc, Page 2B.

Johnny Depp narrates the documentary as a friend; he lived in Thompson's Woody Creek, Colo., basement for weeks preparing to star in 1998's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Other celebrities appearing onscreen with their remembrances include Hell's Angels leader Sonny Barger and trop-rocker Jimmy Buffett.

Gibney's movie feverishly details Thompson's drug-whacked persona and its sharp contrast to American social and political upheaval during the civil rights, Vietnam and Watergate eras. Using rare home movies, audio recordings and passages from unpublished manuscripts, Gonzo paints a robust portrait of rebellion with a cause, if not always decorum or clarity.

Documentary shines a light on life of Hunter S. Thompson 09/17/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 18, 2008 2:17pm]

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