Withnail and I is one of those movies you HAVE to see before you die! simply put it's a cult masterpiece that's still as fresh as when it came out 29 years ago.
If you've never heard of this film i envy you as you can now soak it up and see it for the first time and believe me it packs one hell of a punch.
Starring veteran British actors Richard.E.Grant, Paul McGann and Richard Griffith, it's a gritty yet hilarious vision of England at the end of the hippy era.
So what's it about? Here's the plot:
London 1969 - two 'resting' (unemployed and unemployable) actors, Withnail and Marwood, fed up with damp, cold, piles of washing-up, mad drug dealers and psychotic Irishmen, decide to leave their squalid Camden flat for an idyllic holiday in the countryside, courtesy of Withnail's uncle Monty's country cottage.
But when they get there, it rains non-stop, there's no food, and their basic survival skills turn out to be somewhat limited.
Matters are not helped by the arrival of Uncle Monty, who shows an uncomfortably keen interest in Marwood...
See my Movie review here for more:
I absolutely LOVE this movie, a story about two friends stuck in a rut which we can all relate to.
McGann and Grant have great chemistry and you really feel for them as they go on this drugged up quest which ultimately shows what they're both made of.
So many one liners in the film, one of my favourite is when they're faced with killing a chicken for their dinner. The line "How do we make it die?" makes me chuckle every-time.
The movie walks a fine line between comedy and gritty drama, not something that's easily done and could (in less experienced hands) have been a total disaster. Writer and Director Bruce Robinson delivers a truly unique story and set the mark pretty high for himself as a result.
This is due to the semi-biographical nature of the story, apparently Robinson's life was inspiration for the movie as he lived some of these bizarre situations over a 2 to 3 year period when he was a young struggling actor.
The Drug culture aspect is handled in a completely believable way and you only have to take one look at the characters eyes to see they're on something stronger then red wine.
There's definite nods to the work of the late great Gonzo journalist Hunter.S.Thompson, who's prolific drug habits in a way made his career.
Living life on the edge after all was his motto.......before he committed suicide that is.
Withnail and I is a story that doesn't necessarily have an end goal like a typical summer action movie or even a regular Indie Film. It feels refreshing and yet nostalgic at the same time with a bloody good soundtrack to boot.
The Movie culminates in one of the most poignant and emotionally charged scenes in cinema history. Richard.E.Grant's character left on his own, recites Hamlet to a lone wolf in the park and we get a vision of what he was before the excess of pills and booze turned him into the self loathing caricature he has become.
Not many films could get away with such an ending and Withnail and I should be applauded for it, if the movie was shot today there's no doubt it would have been tweaked by Studio Producers with little understanding of the source material to appeal to a wider audience......those words always make me shudder.