A few surprising humorous moments and political comments about what happened in Puerto Rico during the Cold War help and the film looks classy and has great atmosphere but a tacky happy ending don't help. The movie also lacks Terry Gilliam's visionary directing style and this movie is a pretty straight forward and "safe" production with a slow pace that never really "clicks" into place.
Missing from the fall festival circuit for a reason: it's trash. Such a letdown with little to no reason to bother with. Depp sleepwalks through the picture with the majority of the performances rudderless. The brilliant Bruce Robinson of 'Withnail' and 'Advertising' is nowhere to be seen. Pretty much the best thing about the film is the score and music placement and the line 'it's a standing ovation'. Awful.
I enjoyed majority of the film. Obviously, when the source material is Hunter Thompson and Depp is playing Thompson's alter ego Paul Kemp, it's going to be compelling in some manner. Unfortunately, I was extremely underwhelmed by the final third of the film. The Frankie Miller song over the end credits was an excellent treat, but overall the film just didn't have the cojones of Hunter's writing.
As I see it, the story was good a good one, it held a solid structure and had the acting to back it up. I also admire Johnny Depp as as artist and an actor and I believe he really brought something to this film. However I found some of the camera work to be flawed, the plot a bit confused, and the ending...unfinished and unresolved. I believe this had a lot of potential, but failed to meet its mark.