SilverDocs Film Preview: ‘Gonzo’ Delivers Definitive Take on Hunter S. Thompson

SilverDocs is in full swing. Not sure what documentaries to catch (and which to skip)? After Hours tells you what the critics have to say.
Photograph Courtesy of SilverDocs.

Title: Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

The Premise: An intimate look at the man behind the myth of the counterculture hero.

The Critics:
“…[L]egendary journo Hunter S. Thompson gets definitive docu treatment in Gonzo. Alex Gibney’s film draws on a rich array of archival interviews, homemovies, signs-of-the-times clips and celebrity reminiscences to chart the dizzying arc of a man who both chronicled and personified edgier aspects of the American 1960s and ‘70s.”—Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Gibney doesn’t bother trying to build myth or expound upon Thompson’s personal life—which, of course, Thompson more than took care of during his lifetime. Gibney’s doc succeeds because (1) he was given full access to Thompson’s archives and the Owl Farm compound; (2) he doesn’t drown the film with celebrity interviews; (3) he focuses on Thompson’s body of work (not his love of booze and illegal weapons); and (4) he approaches his subject objectively and notlike some raving fanboy.”—Brian J. Barr, Seattle Weekly

“When filming a documentary about a writer so eccentric, talented, and gigantically presenced that a peer describes him as having had “the attributes of an action hero,” the risk is less that you’ll render his story uninteresting than you’ll end up with a feature filled with chaos. Not with Alex Gibney at the helm, however. The Oscar-winning director of Taxi to the Dark Side and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room—docs that brilliantly distilled what felt like a Google’s worth of facts into digestible viewing—again plucked, jiggered, and embellished wisely to create Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.”—Tricia Olszewski, Washington City Paper

Worth the ticket? Definitely. If the promise of Johnny Depp narrating a documentary about one of the most influential journalists of our time isn’t enough to draw you in, then Alex Gibney as the director should do the trick. We get chills just remembering Gibney’s previous documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side, perhaps the most affecting film we’ve seen about torture practices and human rights abuses.

Showtime: 9:30 PM.

For tickets and the full SilverDocs schedule, click here.

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