Ralph Steadman Doc For No Good Reason Keeps With the Spirit of Hunter S. Thompson

Johnny Depp and Ralph Steadman
Johnny Depp and Ralph Steadman
© 2013 - Sony Pictures Classics

Finding form in chaos, Ralph Steadman became famous illustrating the writing of Hunter S. Thompson and made a subsequent career out of speaking truth to power via activist-minded art.

For No Good Reason details the famed wild-man cartoonist's career with a stylistic daring that doesn't quite match its subject's, but is nonetheless in keeping with his unconventional spirit.

Using as its foundation interviews between Steadman and Johnny Depp — who played Thompson in Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and who here stops by to chat at Steadman's home office — and splicing together a wealth of photos, film footage, and shots of him at work, director Charlie Paul creates a kinetic sense of the man's lifelong desire to "change the world" through antagonistic and "angry" compositions.

Info

For No Good Reason
Directed by Charlie Paul
Sony Pictures Classics
Opens April 25, Angelika Film Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas



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A sequence in which the documentarian flip-flops between three different, equally crazy anecdotes about Steadman's adventures with Thompson most fully captures the duo's gonzo spirit, though his raft of split-screens, animated segments, and momentous pans around Steadman's workspace don't greatly alter the general straightforwardness of the material.

Still, in images of Steadman fashioning wrist-flicked paint splotches into something coherent and commanding, it's a film that paints a potent portrait of an artist of righteous, controlled fury.

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