Monday, October 13, 2008

Gonzo

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2008 at 9:49 PM

  Alex Gibney's Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is an excellent film and I highly recommend seeing it (in the New Orleans Film Fest - 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 14, Prytania Theatre). It spans Thompson's life from childhood to his suicide, and it chronicles some of his best known works - about the Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972. Anyone caught up in or needing a break from the current presidential election may find Thompson's exploits during the 1972 election to be an interesting distraction. It almost seems like another world, and it definitely had a different set of rules of engagement between candidates and the media. It's hard to imagine Thompson getting unfettered access to President Richard Nixon, but he did and that is one of the amusing anecdotes in the film. But on a more serious level, there's the proposition of Gonzo journalism and how a reporter goes about trying to tell the truth. (The Vietnam War also pushed many writers and journalists of the era to question the profession's conventions - though not necessarily in the same way Thompson did.) And one vintage clip shows a political veteran of the 72 campaigns saying that no one covered the election less factually or more accurately than Thompson. The interview footage with Gary Hart, George McGovern, Pat Buchanan and Jimmy Carter is well worth the ticket.

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