Who?
Hunter S Thompson (high)

What's it about?
Alex Gibney's biopic of the Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone journalist who became world-famous in the ’60s and ’70s by / while / despite incorporating enthusiastic drug taking into his reportage of American life.

What’s good about it?
Far from being a rose-tinted tribute, also shows how Thompson's ‘Gonzo’ journalism suffered for his ‘Gonzo’ celebrity, making him (on his worst days) a drug-taking, gun-wielding headache. But then there's warming testimonials from a Hell's Angel with a hole in his neck, ex-President Jimmy Carter and a white-suited Tom Wolfe. And mesmerising dictaphone recordings of his very maddest moments, including Thompson and sidekick interrogating a taco stand in Las Vegas about the wherabouts of the American Dream.

What’s bad about it?
It's nearly two hours long, with too much footage of Thompson running around wearing an ironic President Nixon mask. Some of the LSD-inspired re-stagings are unnecessarily vexing, and they should have chosen some better songs. American Pie and All Along The Watchtower are so familar they make you weary.

Verdict:
A moving pastiche that doesn't shirk the darkest elements of Thompson's character. But it'll still make you want to write letters to figures of authority, using phrases such as “bloated pig” and “cocksucker”.

When? December 19.

4/5