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

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Since his violent suicide in 2005, numerous biographies and retrospective books have been published about the enigmatic inventor of Gonzo journalism, but Alex Gibney's Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is the first documentary to look at the celebrity writer from this side of his death. Aside from the feelings expressed regarding Hunter's suicide from first wife Sondi, their son Juan and co-creator of the Gonzo style, artist Ralph Steadman, Gibney's documentary doesn't reveal a whole lot that's new. Plus, there is also a little too much reliance on footage from the HST movies and previous documentaries, like Wayne Ewing's Breakfast With Hunter and the BBC's coverage of Hunter's bid for Sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, as well as many of the same talking heads telling the same stories. But on the other hand, Sondi gives an honest and open interview, and Gibney has dug up some rare and never before released audio tapes, footage and photos, some contributed from the personal collection left by Hunter to second wife Anita Thompson. While it's certainly interesting to see a young, shy HST make an appearance on game show To Tell The Truth, or his show-stopping funeral funded by friend Johnny Depp, Gibney's choice to film new footage with a Hunter Thompson stand-in as "the spirit of Hunter" is kind of cheesy. Still, Depp's "narration" of the documentary - reciting passages from Thompson's books - is inspired and the audio commentary by Gibney is worth listening to, as it's often more enlightening on the subject than the documentary itself. However, much of the rest of the bonus material is just advertising for the soundtrack, the Gonzo book, and the five-CD box set of The Gonzo Tapes. By no means the definitive biography of Hunter, Gonzo offers the uninitiated a good overview of his life, especially the important decade of 1965 to 1975, while long-time HST fans will still be able to find quite a few new things at which to gawk. (Mongrel Media)