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Fantastic new doc: Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Revealing documentary is one of the year's best films



Up until Friday, my favorite film of 2008 was WALL*E, without question. Then I saw the sensational new documentary, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, which shot up my year's best list to the number one spot. (Since logging it, I've seen Hellboy 2 and The Dark Knight, and it will take me a little while to decompress these fantastic entertainment pieces). Gonzo focuses on Thompson's influence as a writer, then explores his place in larger popular culture. Particularly gripping is the content surrounding the creation of Thomspon's most "gonzo" works of journalism: The late 1960s book Hell's Angels, and the classics Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. Director Alex Gibney, whose 2005 doc Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is my fave doc of the last decade, weaves a fascinating tapestry of archival interviews with Thompson, and new interviews with everyone from Jimmy Buffett to Pat Buchanan in creating this warts-and-all biography of a remarkable talent, who died a few years ago of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The movie even boasts Johnny Depp (who played Thompson's alter ego Raoul Duke in the film version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) reading Thompson's words throughout the film. Great stuff, and its playing this week in the Dome in Pleasant Hill.