Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson 

Wednesday, Jun 25 2008
A tightly wound bundle of everything and its opposite—an anti-authoritarian who ran for sheriff of Aspen, a peace-loving gun nut, an iconoclast who relished winners as much as any football coach—the late Hunter S. Thompson pioneered what might be called psychic-war correspondence: corrosive inner dispatches from the long goodbye of ’60s idealism. Alex Gibney’s fascinating doc makes Thompson a complex, looming presence, using the author’s words (read by Johnny Depp) as rueful commentary. Buttressed by interviews with his collaborators (including illustrator Ralph Steadman), archival snippets, and vintage Thompson footage, the bulk of Gibney’s film is devoted to just three books: Hell’s Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and his last major work, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72—a trilogy that made Thompson a counterculture idol as well as a literal and figurative cartoon character. As director, Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) relies too often on glib simplification and smirky music montages of social unrest. But by refocusing attention on Thompson’s blazing gift, however unevenly it burned, Gonzo reclaims him from the fate he described for the Angels: “The mystique was stretched so thin it finally became transparent.”
July 4-17, 2008

About The Author

Jim Ridley


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"