Directed by: Alex Gibney
Written by: Hunter S.Thompson
Screen Story by: Alex Gibney
Music by: David Schwartz
Narreted by: Johnny Depp
Runtime: 118 minutes
“Gonzo” is the definitive film biography of a mythic American figure, a man that Tom Wolfe called our “greatest comic writer,” whose suicide, by gunshot, led Rolling Stone Magazine, where Thompson began his career, to devote an entire issue (its best-selling ever) to the man that launched a thousand sips of bourbon, endless snorts of cocaine and a brash, irreverent, fearless style of journalism – named “gonzo” after an anarchic blues riff by James Booker.
Borrowing from Kris Kristofferson, Thompson was a “walking contradiction, partly truth, mostly fiction.” A die-hard member of the NRA, he was also a coke-snorting, whiskey-swilling, acid-eating fiend. While his pen dripped with venom for crooked politicians, he surprised nervous visitors with the courtly manners and soft-spoken delivery of a Southern gentleman. Careening out of control in his personal life, Thompson also maintained a steel-eyed conviction about righting wrongs. Today, in a time, when “spin” has replaced the search for deeper meaning, Thompson remains an iconic crusader for truth, justice and a fiercely idealistic American way. Like Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (and the movie made from it) remains a wanderlust myth for generation after generation of American youth. And for America’s most esteemed journalists – from Tom Wolfe, and Walter Isaacson (former editor of Time) to the NY Times’ Frank Rich – he remains an iconic freelance, never afraid to gore every sacred cow in his path. He believed that writing could make a difference. It could change things.
GONZO is directed by Alex Gibney, the Academy Award nominated director of Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room and the director of the Academy Award winning documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side. While Gibney shaped the screen story, every narrated word in the film springs from the typewriters of Thompson himself. Those words are given life by Johnny Depp, the actor who once shadowed Thompson’s every move for the screen version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and who bankrolled Thompson’s spectacular funeral (photographed for this film) in which the good doctor’s ashes were fired from a rocket launcher mounted with a towering two-thumbed fist whose palm held a giant peyote button.
This two-year effort was produced by an extraordinary team, including Gibney; Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair; the indie producing team of Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente; Eva Orner and Alison Ellwood. Ellwood, an extraordinarily creative editor, was also Gibney’s collaborator on Enron. The film’s Director of Photography was Maryse Alberti.
The film is distinguished by its unprecedented cooperation of Thompson’s friends, family and estate. The filmmakers had access to hundreds of photographs and over 200 hours of audiotapes, home movies and documentary footage of the man. In addition, the estate granted unusual access to the work itself, allowing the film to quote from unpublished manuscripts, as well as the many letters, books and articles that Thompson produced. Ralph Steadman – the visionary artist whose ink-splattered drawings and paintings created a subversively iconic visual landscape for Thompson’s words – also granted the filmmakers access to previously unpublished artworks and Polaroid’s.
The signature of the film, however, is its focus on Thompson’s work, particularly his most provocative and productive period from 1965 to 1975. His wicked words resonate today, at a time when politicians have become manufactured celebrities, shrouding themselves in Teflon, issuing banalities whose only value is that they rarely offend. Too often, contemporary journalists play the politicians’ game, taking them seriously with a balance they don’t deserve. Thompson never stood for that. He understood, better than any other, that when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
Press Kit magnolia pictures
Berkeley, CA: Shattuck Cinemas – Irvine, CA: University Town Center 6 Cinemas – Los Angeles, CA: The Landmark – Palo Alto, CA: Aquarius 2 – Pasadena, CA: Playhouse 7 Cinemas – San Diego, CA: Hillcrest Cinemas – San Francisco, CA: Embarcadero Center Cinema – San Rafael, CA: Smith Rafael Film Center – West Hollywood, CA: Sunset 5 – Denver, CO: Mayan Theatre – Washington, DC: E Street Cinema – Atlanta, GA: Midtown Art Cinemas 8 – Chicago, IL: Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema – Cambridge, MA: Kendall Square Cinema – Baltimore, MD: Landmark Harbor East 7 – Minneapolis, MN: Lagoon Cinema – New York, NY: Lincoln Plaza – New York, NY: Angelika Film Center (6) – Philadelphia, PA: Ritz at the Bourse – Austin, TX: Arbor Cinemas at Great Hills – Dallas, TX: Magnolia Theatre (Dallas) – Houston, TX: River Oaks Theatre – Arlington, VA: Shirlington 7
Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Santa Cruz, CA: Nickelodeon Theatres – Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan Theater – Royal Oak, MI: Main Art Theatre – University City, MO: Tivoli Theatre – Santa Fe, NM: The Screen – Cleveland Heights, OH: Cedar Lee Theatres – Columbus, OH: Gateway 8 – Nashville, TN: Belcourt Theatre – San Antonio, TX: Santikos Bijou at Crossroads 6
New Haven, CT: Criterion Cinemas 7 – North Falmouth, MA: Nickelodeon Cinema 5 – Kansas City, MO: Tivoli at Manor Square – Chapel Hill, NC: Chelsea Cinema – Charlotte, NC: Manor Theatre – Dayton, OH: New Neon Movies – Bend, OR: Pilot Butte 6 Theatres – Eugene, OR: Bijou Art Cinema – Richmond, VA: Westhampton Cinema 2 – Madison, WI: Sundance Cinemas 608
Honolulu, HI: Doris Duke Theatre
Olympia, WA: Olympia Film SocietyCapitol Theatre
Juneau, AK: Gold Town Nickelodeon
USA 20 January 2008 (Sundance Film Festival)
Italy 12 June 2008 (Biografilm Festival)
Germany 27 June 2008 (Munich Film Festival)
USA 4 July 2008 (limited)
Canada 18 July 2008 (limited)
Finland 19 September 2008 (Helsinki International Film Festival)
Poland 10 October 2008 (Warsaw International FilmFest)
Spain 24 October 2008 (In-Edit Barcelona Film Festival)
UK 27 October 2008 (London Film Festival)
Argentina 3 November 2008 (San Luis Cine International Festival)
Denmark 9 November 2008 (CPHDOX Festival)
UK 19 December 2008
the DVD is not available yet
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