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LFF Review: For No Good Reason

Director: Charlie Paul

Cast: Ralph Steadman, Johnny Depp, Hunter S Thompson, Terry Gilliam, Richard E Grant

Running time: 96 minutes

Plot: A visually stunning documentary following the career of illustrator Ralph Steadman, and his weird-and-wacky friendship with Hunter S Thompson.

Going into the screening for FOR NO GOOD REASON I had no idea (shamefully) who Ralph Steadman was. However, as soon as the title slide flashed up on screen, I instantly recognised the slanted, jagged font – this is the guy who illustrated ‘Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas’ (the cult novel written by Hunter S Thompson). The next 96 minutes were a joy to behold!

Made up of interviews between Steadman and his close friend Johnny Depp (who starred in the novel’s silver screen adaptation), FOR NO GOOD REASON documents Steadman’s funny – but at times unsteady and dangerous – friendship with Thompson. Featuring footage taken during the 1970s (when the pair met), Steadman talks us through his travels to America, a dangerous liaison with a boat and a graffiti spray can and the many binge-drinking benders Hunter took him along to. Together the pair worked their way through many bottles of booze and eventually came out the other side with a finished book. As the years went on, Ralph and Hunter continued to work together, until Hunter’s suicide in 2005.

Although consisting of past footage, current-day interviews, photographs, clippings and sound bites, one of the most interesting elements of the film is Ralph’s artwork. As an artist he’s saved many of his original creations, which come to life through the film via animation. Quirky, colourful, in-your-face pictures lift off the page, pushing this documentary from ‘entertaining’ to ‘awesome’. Add in the intense (but at times rather too loud) soundtrack featuring Slash, The All-American Rejects and Jason Mraz, and I was thoroughly entertained.

FOR NO GOOD REASON is an insightful, in-depth look at Ralph’s cartoonist career; at times making you laugh out loud, at others grimace with sadness. Warm, funny and touching, this is one documentary you’d be silly to miss (it’s also nice to see Johnny Depp as Johnny Depp, not as a pirate…).

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Considering Jazmine grew up watching CARRY ON SCREAMING, THE LION KING and JURASSIC PARK on repeat for weeks on end, it made sense for her to study film at London South Bank University. It’s also a good thing that her course requires a lot of sitting down because she’s very accident-prone. When she’s not examining her bruises, she likes pretending that she doesn’t live in Southend-On-Sea and spends hours mindlessly blogging. Favourite films include BLUE VALENTINE, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and TOY STORY 2.

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