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Movie review: Illustrator Steadman more interesting than movie about him

Published July 11, 2014 1:07 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ralph Steadman is a fascinating artist, but the documentary "For No Good Reason" doesn't do much to draw out what makes him fascinating.

Steadman, now 78, is best known for his illustrations for Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo journalism, such as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." He talks about his collaboration — and many drunken, drug-addled misadventures — with the out-there Thompson, which followed the artist's youthful ambitions to "change the world" with his acid-dripped political cartoons.

Filmmaker Charlie Paul tries dressing up the proceedings by animating Steadman's best-known illustrations, and by having Steadman pal (and frequent Thompson portrayer) Johnny Depp visit the artist in his studio. Alas, Depp turns out to be a lousy and uninteresting interviewer.

The best moments come when Steadman practically commandeers the film away from Paul and Depp, as he shows off his splatter-inspired artistic techniques.

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'For No Good Reason'

Opens Friday, July 11, at the Tower Theatre; rated R for language, some drug content and brief sexual images; 89 minutes.