TIFF 2023: Our Review of ‘Gonzo Girl’

Posted in TIFF 2023 by - September 11, 2023
TIFF 2023: Our Review of ‘Gonzo Girl’

The problem with adapting a novel based on the stories and reputation of Hunter S. Thompson is that Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas exists. Nothing truly is going to ever come close to that telling of the famous author. That is not to say that Patricia Arquette’s directorial debut of Gonzo Girl doesn’t have some merit. But that merit comes from its leading cast and the rest of the film is exhausting.

The film focuses on Alley Russo (Camila Morrone) whose been hired by Claudia (Patricia Arquette) to be the next assistant for Walter Reade (Willem Dafoe). Claudia preps her to eventually work with Hunter S. Thompson. What ends up unfolding is a drug fueled chaotic adventure of passion and drippings of ecstasy laced (both figuratively and literally) adventures. Those adventures eventually descend into chaos and drama heavy endurance.

Tonally, Gonzo Girl is the equivalent of a Jackson Pollock. There is some meaning and beauty behind the chaos but it is sheer and unequivocable chaos. Since this was adapted from a book, something of this caliber and stature is potentially a hard feat to accomplish. I’m considering how messy Reade’s life was and how sheerly unhinged everything was. The true saving grace of Gonzo Girl, though, lays within its cast. Gonzo Girl, similarly to the writing that inspired it, is absolutely bonkers and it loses its footing throughout the movie but it manages to stay afloat because of two marvellous performances and some safe directing from Patricia Arquette.


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My earliest movie memory, outside of my home theatre in my basement, was going to the local Video 99 and wanting to rent ET only to be told by the shop owner it was playing down the street in theatres. My love for cinema has been alive for as long as I can honestly remember. I would frequent the cinema minutes down from my house daily. It was a second home. Movies are an escape from the everyday world, a window into the soul, a distant friend. If I’m not watching a movie, I’m probably watching a tv show, if I’m doing neither I’m asleep. Feel free to interact me at @Dubsreviews
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