Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars
When I first saw the film “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, I feel in love with the work of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson and his collaborating artist and longtime friend Ralph Steadman. Over the last 15 years, I have been collecting everything I can from these two people. Talking about fandom, I even have Steadman’s work tattooed on my right arm. When I heard about “For No Good Reason”, I couldn’t have been more excited since after the death of HST in 2005, it gives Steadman the much deserved spotlight that he deserves. It also sort of acts a tribute to HST as well, which I really appreciate. This is no question one of my favorite films of the year and one hell of a documentary.
Official Premise: Experience 15 years in the life of seminal British artist Ralph Steadman, whose surreal, often confrontational artwork is frequently associated with Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). Through Johnny Depp’s lead in this intimate portrait, we are able to reach the heart of what make this artist tick, his friendships and fallings out, his love for art and his passion for civil liberties. The inventive, energetic, occasionally harrowing, but inspiring film includes contributions from Terry Gilliam, Richard E. Grant, Tim Robbins and others who offer insight into the man behind the legend.
One thing, that I really loved about this spotlight on one of the most bizarre artists of the 20th century was how brutally honest it was. I had the very lucky privilege to speak with Ralph Steadman about his career and the film, click here to check out our interview with the man himself. You not only get a portrait of Steadman’s work in this film but also who he is as a person and his back story. He is definitely a weird dude just like HST but what artist isn’t a little odd. If you are a die-hard fan of his work, I cannot recommend this enough…same goes if you are just discovering him this is an amazing introduction as well.
Sony is delivering “For No Good Reason” as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD copy…but no digital copy. I was really hoping that this film was going to include an Ultraviolet copy. The 1080p transfer is good but not perfect. The art looks great though, especially the animation sequences. Same goes with the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. It is definitely a solid track but also doesn’t get very challenged with this dialogue driven film.
Since this film took over a decade to complete, I was really hoping the special features would be jam-packed but not so much. There are still some decent content including an audio commentary track from Director Charlie Paul and Producer Lucy Paul, which is a nice way to revisit for sure. There is the Toronto International Film Festival Q&A with Ralph Steadman and Charlie Paul included. There is a reading of “Cherrywood Cannon”, animated version of Steadman’s book. Lastly there are a few extended interviews with Bruce Robinson, Richard E. Grant and Terry Gilliam and a few deleted scenes included.