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

The good doctor is family around these parts, so cheers to Alex Gibney (Oscar winner for Taxi to the Dark Side) for not screwing up this mesmerizing documentary about the people, places and substances that altered the mind and battered heart of the Kentucky-born inventor of gonzo journalism. Johnny Depp, who paid for the 2005 funeral in which Thompson's ashes were fired out of a cannon, narrates with just the right mix of awe and impertinence. Tom Wolfe, illustrator Ralph Steadman and Rolling Stone editor and publisher Jann S. Wenner check in on navigating the blurred line between fact and fiction that marked Thompson's landmark writing. Family, including son Juan, fill us in on life with the man who declared, "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." The photos, audiotapes and home movies hit hardest because they bring Hunter back. "This won't hurt," he wrote in his suicide note. For those of us who miss the heat of his fear and loathing and the holes he shot into hypocrisy on and off the campaign trail, it hurts plenty.

From The Archives Issue 420: April 26, 1984