Alex Gibney is an amazing documentarian.
For some reason Johnny Depp bugs me for the same reason that Sean Penn's "friendship" with Charles Bukowski bugs me.Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson does a fine job of taking viewers into the world of this pioneering journalist. Filled with insights and recollections into the life and work of this man who went where few journalists ever tried to go, this DVD really does its best to give us as comprehensive a picture as possible about who Hunter S. Thompson was. Having written the seminal book, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," we are taken into the thought process of one of America's true original writers. In a day and age when a book like "Twilight" is held up as some sort of literary masterwork, it's nice to know that documentaries about people like Thompson exist. Always out there stirring the pot, this man and his writings were nothing short of interesting and original.
Alex Gibney has again showed us why he is one of the best documentary filmmakers in the business today. With his ability to get inside the subject matter he is covering, he really merges the worlds of journalism and entertainment in the best way.
Deleted Scenes and Extended Interviews
I am not really a fan of these for documentary films because of the nature of the medium. In regular narrative movies these sorts of extras have a place. It's great to get a perspective on other ways that things might have been done. Documentary films have a certain finality to them, so when I see extra footage of Hunter S. Thompson doing this or that, I can't help but wonder why that wasn't in the documentary itself?
Drawings, Photo Galleries and Hunter's Guns
Now that's a pretty eclectic mix of features right? Ralph Steadman handled the drawing duties on these pictures which, if you've seen the front of this DVD cover you know what they look like. The photo galleries give us more pictures of the gonzo journalist, and then there are always the guns of which Thompson was certainly a big fan.
A Tribute to Hunter S. Thompson and The Gonzo Tapes
Widescreen - 1.78:1. Since this is a documentary film it is filled with all manner of footage. They range from still photos, to old footage of Thompson, to talking head interviews, etc. All of this has been put together quite nicely here. Documentary films allow a lot of leeway for how footage looks, but on this release everything is top notch.
Dolby Digital. Close Captioned. Language: English, 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital. Subtitles: Spanish. The audio on this release was also well composed. Considering all the different types of formats used on this release (and when and where they were recorded), I was extremely buoyed by the fact that Magnolia Home Entertainment did such a solid job on this release.
Thompson is shown on this white, black and auburn DVD cover with a cigarette in his hand. The back portion of this release gives us a litany of critics quotes, a small description of this documentary, a Special Features listing, a credits list and technical specs.
Having won the prize for Best Documentary at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, I remember when this movie played at a local theater by my house. Of course I didn't go and see and thus missed out on it completely. That said, I am glad that I got a chance to screen it on DVD. The hard drinking, hard living story of a journalist is the kind of thing that is almost cliché in literary circles. Yet, this man toted guns, was wickedly intelligent and had a keen way of observing situations that he was able to put down on paper. One can come away from this viewing experience feeling like they not only got a well rounded look at this man, but also a new perspective on the writing process.
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is worth your time whether you want to write or not.
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was released July 4, 2008.