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Withnail & I

2 Ratings: 4.5
A movie

Bruce Robinson's semi-autobiographical account of his early years as an actor has become a cult hit of massive proportions, inspiring countless numbers of young men and women to quote stars Paul McGann and Richard E. Grant and their booze-soaked dialogue. … see full wiki

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1 review about Withnail & I

A Classic Returns

  • May 26, 2010
"Withnail and I"

A Classic Returns

Amos Lassen

"Withnail and I", first made in 1987, returns to us now with a Criterion Release on both DVD and Blu Ray. The film looks at the world of debauched unemployed actors and is set in 1969. Withnail (Richard J. Grant) and I (Paul McGann) realize that reality has hit them when they find themselves living in a wine cellar after a binge on speed. Marwood or I suggest that they go to the English countryside and Withnail manages to convince his uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths) to give him the keys to his cottage in the Lake District and the two men are off for a visit to the country. For Withnail this is an alien environment and Marwood has to ward off the advances of Monty who has dropped in to stay. The evening there was awkward for all of them but when they return to London things get even more awkward. First they have an altercation with the local police and then they find that Danny (Ralph Brown) has taken advantage of their absence with rats in the oven.
Director Bruce Robinson brings the 1960's to life in a very authentic film. The script is totally witty and the dialogue is wonderful. The film has stood the test of time even with the largely British humor. We get a look at friendship that we do not often see. The soundtrack is loaded with 60's music and is perfect. The acting is superior. What is interesting is that the plot is really not that wonderful but it doesn't matter where the film is going, only how it gets there and it gets there. It is the script and the acting that hold the whole thing together. Another interesting aspect of the film is that today it is regarded as one of the best British comedies ever made and it flopped when it first came out in 1987. It is the kind of film that was developed to its utmost potential and that is why it has lasted the test of time. It is consistently funny and unforgettably acted and it is an iconic modern film. We have all known someone like Withnail--a pompous "Bug-eyed scarecrow", gaunt, acerbic and never without a drink in his hand--a jack of all trades and master of none.

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