Breakfast with Hunter
Wayne Ewing, director

Review by Alyce Wilson

Filmmaker Wayne Ewing followed Hunter S. Thompson for a couple years, starting with 1996, which marked the 25th anniversary of what many consider his masterwork, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Ewing followed him through the many parties and events set to honor him, through the process of making the film based on the book, and the film's premiere.

At the same time, Hunter was also facing a misdemeanor charge of DUI, despite the fact that the arresting officer had no evidence. The case was eventually resolved out of court.

Most of the film was a slice of life look at Hunter's life, with the camera back in the corner as Hunter talked to people about various things. For example, you saw Johnny Depp following Hunter around and learning his character quirks in order to play him in the movie. You see Hunter meeting with Terry Gilliam, director of the movie, for the one day he was on set to do a cameo appearance. Terry, with his self-deferential good humor, put Hunter's concerns at ease.

The movie had some revealing moments, such as when Hunter met with an unknown director, Art Cox, about the project. Increasingly irritated about the newbie director's inane ideas and lack of vision, he pressured the producer into finding a new director, and personally spoke to Johnny Depp to get him to agree to start the project later than anticipated.

It's a movie for insiders; a movie for HST fans who want to see the behind-the-scenes process. But people who don't know much about him wouldn't find it as enjoyable. Only a small amount of narration is provided, through the use of graphics.

The most successful segment of the film came near the end, where he made a similar move, using a speech that HST's son, Juan Fitzgerald Thompson, gave at an honorary celebration in Louisville. This speech was juxtaposed with scenes which illustrated the points Juan was making about his father, and it was very artfully done. The rest of the film could have used something like that.