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"For No Good Reason"



In "For No Good Reason," director Charlie Paul delves into the work of English illustrator Ralph Steadman, whose splotchy, grotesquely caricatured art is probably familiar to you even if you don't immediately recognize his name. He's most well-known for his collaborations with Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, so it follows that the film focuses mostly on their partnership, but that decision winds up being a bit disappointing when it becomes clear that Steadman's most interesting work was done solo.

Steadman is an engaging subject, but Paul's direction constantly calls attention to itself, distracting from the artist's work with montages, split screens, still photography, and shifting film formats. That's not even counting the animation segments, an overbearing pop soundtrack, and narration from Johnny Depp. The film's best moments come when the camera rests long enough to let us to observe Steadman's process, which is fascinatingly freeform — he admits the end results are as unexpected to him as they are to his audience. It's the sort of intriguing statement that the film is too hyperactive to properly explore.

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