Withnail and I
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London. The 60s. Two unemployed actors-acerbic, elegantly wasted Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and the anxiety-ridden "I" (Paul McGann)-drown their frustrations in booze, pills, and lighter fluid. When Withnail's Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths) offers his cottage, they escape the squalor of their flat for a week in the country. They soon realize they've gone on holiday by mistake when their wits-and friendship-are sorely tested by violent downpours, less-than-hospitable locals, and empty cupboards. An intelligent, superbly acted, and hilarious film, The Criterion Collection is proud to present Bruce Robinson's semi-autobiographical cult favorite in its complete and uncut version.
- Uncut widescreen version, supervised by director of photography Peter Hannan
- Rare pre-production photos by Ralph Steadman
- Limited-edition collectible poster of the original film art by Ralph Steadman
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I had returned from a trip to London in '03, and became reacquainted with the film during a few cold rainy days of repeats on some cable channel as I was recovering from my trip, and the depression that often follows. I'm really not sure why I like the films plot other than it's a snapshot in the life of two out of work actors, and the soggy adventure they have over a weekend spent at a country cottage owned by Withnail's Uncle Monty. A couple of other interesting characters lend interest and humour at the end of the film, and serve to underscore the last year of the 1960's. It is a very nostalgic and funny look into that period when England was suffering economically, and the drugs movement was still so predominant. The dialogue is classic, and the music is perfect for the somber and yet humorous tone, especially the score. The ending is perfect, and I'm not sure what Richard Grant's character is quoting, but it does the job. However, if one isn't accustomed to British English, he or she might have to put on the closed caption and curl up sometime with a book of British slang and expressions.
It's very nice on blu-ray, but one has to crank the sound for the dialogue, and tone it down for the music, and that's a complaint I have with a couple of other blu-rays.
Set in London and the English countryside, the movie portrays a moment in the life of two out-of-work actors during the end of the hippie era, or the British equivalent thereof.
The film is basically a collection of character sketches with some exceedingly well acted roles. Although filled with outrageous and mordant wit, the underlying story is sad portraying the eventual success of the less outgoing, but better adapted Marwood (Paul McGann), while the disgraceful Withnail (Richard Grant) is left in his self-made misery.
Richard Griffiths, gives a truly outstanding portrayal of Monty, Withnail's affluent, overweight and gay uncle. Often overlooked, is the immensely talented portrayal of Danny (the drug dealer) by Ralph Brown - who makes one wonder if the scenes were acted, or real.
This is the genuine article. Experience the time warp by watching it, and one can understand why it has generated such a cult following in Europe, and beyond.
Strong performances by all actors and some of the most memorable lines of dialogue delivered in any movie ever.