Alex Gibney
USA 2008
118 min


About three years ago on 20 February 2005, American writer and inventor Hunter S. Thompson shot himself into the head. He was 67 years old. «That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted», Thompson wrote in his suicide note. His chosen exit was a befitting end of his excessive life he led against the mainstream, never merely letting himself float within it. Hunter S. Thompson was one of the last true anarchists, an outlaw and free-thinker, a great drinker and drugs connoisseur, a lover of explosions of any kind, underground icon and symbol of pop culture.
In his biographical portrait <i>Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson</i>, Alex Gibney allows the enfant terrible’s wild activities that exceeded all categories to collide with the conventional form of chronological order. Family members, friends and companions recollect, the man himself comes into his own in old and new documentary material, and Johnny Depp, who played Thompson in Terry Gilliam’s film adaptation of Gonzo’s probably most famous work, <![CDATA[<i>]]>Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas<![CDATA[</i>]]>, reads excerpts from the works of the «good doctor».
This not only enables the film to enfold the story of an existence led close to the abyss because of excess, but also to show the differentiated portrait of a man who could come to terms with his overpowering official persona less and less. Being a legend during one’s lifetime is tough. Just like an ever more desolate political situation. Just a few weeks after George W. Bush was sworn in for his second term in office as president of the USA, Hunter S. Thompson no longer wanted to face up to it. At least it may have been important to someone who so tirelessly sought to radicalise conditions.
(Alexandra Seitz)

  • Johnny Depp
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Jimmy Buffett
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