Monday 15 October 2007

Fear And Loathing In Gonzovision

Fear And Loathing In Gonzovision (Google Video)

I'm assuming that some of you have already seen this 1978 BBC documentary about Hunter S Thompson before... However, if you have not, then be sure to set aside some time for a viewing.

This is an affecting (if occasionally cloying) portrait of a writer very much at odds with his public persona. Exactly whose existence is being scrutinised here? That of the "normal" Hunter S Thompson or the turbulent extremes of Correspondent Duke? How does the man salvage his own personal humanity from the madman rhetoric he fervently espouses? Funny, wise and true, a malignant soothsayer, yet also a husband and a father... A twisted dichotomy that was never resolved.

Interestingly, this documentary features an initial meeting between Hunter, illustrator Ralph Steadman and a screenwriter in Hollywood. They meet to discuss the premise for Where The Buffalo Roam (1980). Starring Bill Murray as HST, that film invested completely in the myth surrounding the man, and as a result is completely devoid of emotional resonance or depth. Hunter Thompson himself derided it as "cartoony crap", and I would have to agree.

To focus solely on the Drugs, Booze and Mayhem was to utterly miss the point. There was so much more to the man.