For No Good Reason Reviews
Recommended, and well worth a look.
At the start, I thought all his art was shit. Not for me to say what is good though, but I thought it painfully awkward as Jonny Depp had to pretend he enjoyed watching the process. But Steadman is very prolific and did have his fair share of some pretty neat art..just usually not the ones he makes when the camera is on.
So maybe a more interesting dynamic would have been the dissension between he and HST...getting toward the end of the documentary, we see a little more of that and I paused from turning it off to watch that part. But overall, I just don't like this guy's process and wasn't interested to see Depp pretend he was interested just because he plays in all the HST movies.
I must say that For No Good Reason was a simply disappointing documentary. It was a film with so much potential and interesting people to be involved with, and yet it wasted it all on a film which tried to be a surreal experience.
For No Good Reason covers a lot of ground in terms of the artworks created by Ralph Steadman with scenes depicting his technique and his vision for artwork very well. The film is packed with so many of his pieces flashing across the screen while narration quickly explains what the relevance of all them are. The problem is simply that it is overwhelming. Having so many images rush across the screen while music plays gives the feel of a music video which turns the film into an excessive rush which easily convolutes it's message. I walked away from For No Good Reason with no understanding of practically anything about Ralph Steadman and only a single piece of information more about Hunter S. Thompson, so it is a poor documentation of history. It seems as if Charlie Paul wanted to take an angle on the film which made it both innovative as a documentary and also a surreal visual experience along the lines of Ralph Steadman's artworks. In actual fact, it just made it overwhelming and limited the potential for insight. I really can't say I learned much from the film, and even though I enjoyed seeing a lot of the imagery and learning about small aspects of Ralph Steadman, it seems that the film is a self-fulfilling prophecy in that it was made for no good reason.
For No Good Reason does make use of some interesting historical footage. Although it fails to explain it and it is further blurred partially by the way it is composed onto screen in an intended stylish manner, viewers get to see part of the history that contributed to making Charles Steadman who he is. Like I said, the film is shallow without much depth to it whatsoever, but the scenes depicting his interactions with Hunter S. Thompson and William S. Burroughs are intriguing. Of course most of the interesting scenes come from seeing his art pieces at work, as well as how it talks slightly about why he made them and just what his driving force was. The film is far from as good as it could have been, but Ralph Steadman is an interesting person with a fascinating artistic style. If Charlie Paul's intention was to convey that in his documentary then he succeeded. It is just a shame that he didn't succeed as much as he could have.
For No Good Reason is so obsessed with being crammed full of imagery that it forgets to honestly examine the person it is chronicling. Ralph Steadman seems interesting, but Charlie Paul is not too interested in explaining why. He is too focused on the man as an artist to put any emphasis on him as a person. And the style of the documentary is not good enough to hide that. The style of the film is poor due to being overwhelming whereas the educational value of For No Good Reason is poor due to being drastically underwhelming. It only asks questions at a half-assed rate during the entirety of the film, and viewers are not likely to walk away from it having grasped too much. I mean, you miss things if you blink in the film yet the imagery is simply shoved down your throat with many artworks having been used repeatedly over the course of the feature. There is hardly a moment where the film slows down enough for viewers to appreciate the simple aspects of it, and so it rests mainly on the focus of what kinds of images they are instead of what they are. The nature of the imagery is repeatedly used, but the kind of impact that Ralph Steadman made on the art world with them is not explained well at all. There is clearly a story lying beneath all the images and convoluted structure in For No Good Reason, but I didn't walk away from the film with enough motivation to honestly ask any more questions myself. For No Good Reason made me give up on any interest I had in Ralph Steadman, and I get the feeling that was the last thing Charlie Paul would want his documentary to do.
There is also a lack of involvement from Johnny Depp. If not for him then the film would not have been made, but considering the history of his relationship with Hunter S. Thompson as well as his influential legacy, it seems that there is a lot he could have had to say. Instead, he is simply used as a pretty face in the documentary. His role in the production of the film is different to the role he actually plays in it all, and the wisdom that he hints at during a scene where he discusses the death of Hunter S. Thompson suggests that he could have done a lot more for the film. Even Terry Gilliam who brought the imagery to life in his adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is given but a few seconds of screen time. His presence in the film is one of the primary reasons I wanted to see it, and the fact that he played such a diminutive part in it is thoroughly disappointing.
So despite a lot of imagery, For No Good Reason gets obsessed with trying to be a surreal visual experience and a look at Ralph Steadman which ends up being its own undoing and finishes as a shallow and visually overwhelming documentary which finishes having made little ground.
I really enjoyed this documentary about the extremely talented artist, Ralph Steadman, who has a very unique style of painting/drawing. A lot of people have seen his work on the Withnail & I and Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas covers, but he hasn't really became an household name. After seeing his amazing work in this documentary, which shows Ralph Steadman being interviewed by Johnny Depp who was the main character in Fear & Loathing, you can't help thinking that he is extremely under rated which is probably due to his personal political views. This movie gives an in depth look about the thought process behind his work and the strange but wonderful relationship between Steadman and Hunter S. Thompson. I think that the director done a great job with this documentary, and for someone that had never heard of Steadman before, I will definitely look out for his previous and present work. Enjoyable!
The way that the director was able to use Ralph Steadman's work to put it into mini cartoons, was brilliant and to see Steadman create a painting from just flicking the paintbrush onto a blank piece of paper, really does show how talented the man really is. The different techniques that he uses to come of with some amazing paintings, was an eye opener, but it's a shame that no one has really heard of him. In the art and movie world, he does seem to be well known and respected but I really didn't have a clue about his work before I saw this documentary. Anyway, it's worth watch if your interested in this type of thing, but I'm sure that some people would find it boring if they were looking for entertainment.
Worldwide Gross: $67,500 (Deserved more!)
I recommend this movie to people who are into documentaries about art and who have seen some of Ralph Steadman's terrific work. 6/10
Containing some terrific archive material of the younger, goateed Steadman on the road, Charlie Paul's film gives a historical overview of his adventures and achievements with and without Thompson, eventually offering some sad evidence of the prickliness of the duo's relationship. Even if we don't quite get to know the man, the visionary violence of Steadman's acid pen emerges to vivid effect, partly though Kevin Richards's animations, and despite Depp's sometimes over-eager respect.