Admission: I haven’t read the book, but I expected a light-hearted, tropical drama about a journalist who drinks a lot of rum - it isn’t what I got. When discussing the film on Twitter a friend told me that, “The book is short, light and breezy.” The film is quite the opposite. As opposite as you can get. It wasn’t short at all - in fact the 120 minutes seemed double that, and it definitely wasn’t breezy.
There are many faults. One of the main ones is the use of Chenault’s character. The book describes her as follows: “She had a hard little body and a way of walking that indicated a mass of stored up energy.” She’s clearly written as a tease and whilst the film reflects on this well enough, it is also quick to forget about her at the end of proceedings. She flirts and teases throughout, but after coming close to finally bedding Kemp, she isn’t seen again until briefly being mentioned in the epilogue.
Chenault is an object of a desire, and maybe that’s the only reason we need as to why we don’t see any more of her. If she is merely an object, her character isn’t important when her teasing stops and she falls for Kemp in return. But whilst that might make for great literature, the film needed to see more of this lust and it needed to end with romance. For that reason alone, she doesn't serve as an important character, losing her integrity and thus closing the feature unsuccessfully.
Not bad - but one for a rental, rather than a trip to the flicks.