The Rum and the Fury
Haughty student-activists encounter and clash with drunk militiamen, cowboys, senior citizens, academics, vagrants, Ivy League preppies, drug dealers, politicians, techno DJs, sea hags, sharks and punitive drinking games in urgent quest to reach Key West before it’s wiped out by massive hurricane in dark comedy satirizing contemporary college life, politics and conceptions of national decline. More
The Rum and the Fury is a dark comedy satirizing modern college life and American political culture. It centers on college junior Taylor Johnson, who sees life as nothing more than the fight against boredom and nothingness, leading him to while away his time as a left-wing student activist at the fictional College of Obioch. But events soon shatter his placid existence. Through a series of misunderstandings, Taylor gets ejected from his student group, the College of Obioch Progressive Activist Union (known as COPAU!), and looses his campus housing and his college fund. Wary of taking on massive amounts of student loans, Taylor agrees to undertake a most unusual summer job: track down the son of a wealthy family and onetime high school friend who has disappeared after joining a radical environmentalist group, the Earth Liberation Fighting Force (ELFF). ELFF is bent on perpetrating an undisclosed violent act, and Taylor is promised a year’s tuition if he can find him and bring him back before it’s too late.
The search leads Taylor to Gainesville, Florida. There, he teams up with his quarry’s former roommate, who has his own reasons for joining the hunt. They form a cautious alliance and through a series of misadventures, drinking contests, double-crosses, and chance encounters are drawn down into the Florida Keys. When ELFF begins demolishing the bridges of the Overseas Highway to “return the islands to nature” and government rule begins to collapse in the wake of a super-hurricane Wagner spiraling towards the islands, rum-sodden locals form a “Conch Militia” to try to stop the radicals. Caught among bungling militiamen, crazed left-wing zealots, and sharks, Taylor struggles to reach Key West and what he believes to be his final destination. But there, he not only finds the island divided into warring camps – one lead by a drug lord and the other a fallen preacher – but he also discovers that his quest is not over and is in fact a ploy for more nefarious ends. As the storm makes landfall and danger closes in, Taylor must decide whether, despite his belief in the futility of helping others, he should attempt to go on to one more island at the end of the Keys and try to help his one-time friend or give into his worldview and abandon it all to save himself.