This is an intriguing documentary about one of the most enigmatic and talented writers ever to grace the United States. The heavy drinking space cadet and creator of Gonzo journalism, the one and only Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
Thompson wrote for various publications over the years and his blend of stream of consciousness commentary which mixed fact and fiction to create an artistically stated viewpoint was unique and captivating. This documentary follows him for a period of years and focuses on his charge for drunk driving and subsequent battle with the Aspen cops and his struggle to realise his best known work, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as a movie.
The film gives us a genuine insight into the daily life of Hunter, his passions and fears, a real peek into the life of a true cultural icon. It was filmed by Wayne Ewing who spent a great deal of time on the road with Thompson and he has edited together a feature length film which is both melancholy and uplifting. For fans of Thompson this is essential viewing and as a documentary it has an artistic integrity and truth about it which makes it engrossing to watch.
We see Thompson at his hideaway Owl Farm and out on the road as part of a book tour and then making a cameo appearance in the film version of Fear and Loathing. He has several celebrity friends who are captured here including Johnny Depp, John Cusack and of course Ralph Steadman who drew the illustrations for Fear and Loathing. There is also a dinner in his honour where P.J. O'Rourke makes a speech and he meets with Senator McGovern, the presidential candidate he followed on campaign against Nixon in 1972. We see him joking with his agent and shouting furiously at director Alex Cox. He is alternately eloquent and happy then mumbling and depressed but never anything less than honest.
Thompson was an outspoken opponent of Nixon and he campaigned for drug legalisation. He was also a gun enthusiast and supported the right to bear arms. He believed privacy and freedom were important ideals and his writing betrayed a disgust and disappointment that American politics fell into the hands of career politicians without any principles. You can feel his anger and disappointment in the film even though his drug use and drinking have obviously taken a toll on his health.
His writing is truly amazing and deserves to be read. It is still relevant and people should delve beyond Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas because there are several books worth reading, including his book about the Hell's Angels and his fascinating and hilarious account of the McGovern campaign. He had the ability to capture a national mood or sum up a change in society with a neat passage and he could also induce fits of laughter with his sarcastic wit.
Breakfast with Hunter is a great documentary and it was first released in 2003. The legendary writer is no longer with us but his influence continues to resonate and fans will enjoy this rare glimpse of his life. You can buy the film at this website.