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Review of "Breakfast With Hunter"

Dir. Wayne Ewing

By Seana Sperling
December 1st, 2003
Is Hunter S. Thompson a dope-smoking reprobate that hides away on his Aspen compound with a flock of peacocks? Well yes, but there’s more to him than first glance might reveal. Challenging convention and sometimes the law, Hunter S. Thompson has lived his life according to his own, sometimes blurry, perspective. Director Wayne Ewing collected footage from over 20 years to piece together this tribute to his neighbor and friend.

The film revolves somewhat around Thompson’s DUI hearing in Aspen. He frankly blasts his accusers, claiming the charge is somehow discriminatory. (His ire is comical and endearing in a strange way although I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of one of his rants or missives). Amidst book signings and bickering about animation in the film version of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," we see the Thompson we have read about. The camera tracks him walking down an office hallway and he spies a fire extinguisher, which he sprays into the neighboring offices much to the irritation of the occupants. “I’ve got my own definition of fun sometimes,” he says with his ever-present cigarette holder in one hand and a highball in the other.

For all his vices and carousing, Thompson’s held up astonishingly well. Some might attribute this to living his life without the constraints of restriction or too much order. Interestingly all his vices are not responsible for his diction and even in the early footage of the young gonzo journalist, the infamous mumbling is present. Johnny Depp captured this vocal idiosyncrasy to perfection in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and watching Hunter S. Thompson in this documentary makes you realize just how good Depp was in the role. The film includes quite a bit of footage from the making of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and many appearances by Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro who he seems to have developed a friendship with.

Aside from the hi-jinks, the film includes his more serious and political side; His reproach of Nixon during the 1972 election makes a timely statement about the conservative right and the corruption within. This early footage reveals a politically vocal Thompson and unfortunately is way too brief. Instead the film shows more of Thompson’s infamous antics with firearms and controlled substances and this veneer shields a closer viewing of the subject.

Reason to view: The film offers some insight into this flamboyant rascal who flouts convention and authority in the most entertaining way.


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