Review: For No Good Reason
Johnny Depp – of course it’s Johnny Depp – brings to the world a documentary of a friend and idol, artist Ralph Steadman. He is the illustrative half of a rebellious and iconic partnership formed in 1970’s with journalist Hunter S. Thompson that beset Vegas and the Kentucky Derby, among others, with booze, drugs, and chaos.
Perhaps you don’t know his name, but Steadman is prolific and his work rather memorable if downright unforgettable, merely for the fact it’s so startling. It was gonzo journalism from Thompson and poison pictures from Steadman that made the pair famous decades ago, and Steadman recounts some fun tales and anecdotes of debauchery and subversion.
It is more an introduction, however, and a sort of notice that declares Steadman is not simply cartoonish, and in fact he is still working hard today. Thus, it’s entirely a platform for Steadman to share stories and show off his skills; but what stories and skills indeed!
Watching him create from start to finish one of his peculiar, alarming works is most fascinating, as he casually drops paint randomly on a canvas and proceeds to layer and blend and unearth a scene. It’s remarkable talent and seems to evolve quickly and effortlessly.
Most welcome is the animation to Steadman’s eerie, disturbing pictures, giving appropriate life and regard to the work as fantastical music plays underneath. Depp is a worthy guide too, and the fact that he isn’t in disguise or wearing makeup makes him a more attractive narrator.
Now in his 70’s, Steadman still is full of life, though does embrace a bit of a curmudgeonly side, equally as entertaining. This all may not be especially illuminating, but it’s a fun jaunt and Steadman certainly isn’t shy.