Friday, Nov. 7, 2008

Gonzo: The Hunter Thompson Story

By David Luhrssen
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Hunter S. Thompson was considered past his peak when he killed himself in 2005. During the high times of the 1960s and ‘70s, however, Thompson helped revitalize journalism through the audacity of his reporting and his willingness to use the tactics of fiction in the strategy of finding truth.

Filmmaker Alex Gibson’s Gonzo: The Life & Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, out now on DVD, is an entertaining and revealing look into the life of a late 20th century author important for his penetrating books on the Hells Angels, Las Vegas and the 1972 presidential primary. The cheesy historical recreation scenes could have been omitted. Important are the interviews with wives and friends and people he praised and attacked in print. Among them: George McGovern, Jimmy Carter and even Pat Buchanan, who takes deep pleasure in recalling Thompson’s clever jabs.

A man who forever crossed the edge, even as the edge receded into the horizon, Thompson finally careened off the cliff by the end of the ‘70s—a prisoner of his fame and a heavily armed, drug saturated way of life. Johnny Depp narrates Gonzo, reading passages from some of Thompson’s best work. The DVD includes deleted scenes, extended interviews and a director’s commentary.

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