Movie review: Illustrator Steadman more interesting than movie about him
Published: July 11, 2014 01:07PM
Updated: July 10, 2014 04:59PM
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Ralph Steadman, the artist famous for his illustrations to Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo journalism, is profiled in the documentary "For No Good Reason." Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics

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