« UNSTOPPABLE | Main | MADE IN DAGENHAM »

November 12, 2010

WITHNAIL AND I — THE CRITERION COLLECTION

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

 


ColeSmithey.comFilthy manic British intellectuals. Perhaps Britain's most beloved cult film, Bruce Robinson's 1986 semi-autobiographical dark comedy is an obsessively observed character study set during the cataclysmic end of the '60s.

The episodic story revels in Withnail's alcohol-fueled rants of outlandish poetic narcissism and egotistical posturing to mask his lack of talent.

ColeSmithey.com

Out-of-work London actors Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and the story's narrator "I" (a.k.a. Marwood — Paul McGann) make the mistake of leaving their squalid Camden Town flat to "go on holiday by mistake" at a rustic cottage in the Lake District owned by Withnail's wealthy, and openly homosexual, Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths).

Screen Shot 2022-04-19 at 3.52.15 PM

Uncle Monty's cottage proves as cold as the area's locals who intimidate Withnail and Marwood at every opportunity. Monty's unexpected late night arrival brings cultured conversation, food, wine, heat, and an erotic agenda aimed at Marwood, whose budding sexuality seems to be veering in that direction.

Withnailandi

Richard Griffiths regal demeanor is that of an affected aesthete who believes Marwood to be gay per Withnail's disinformation. Intent on capitalizing on the intimate opportunity even it if means committing "burglary," Monty's romantic overtures toward Marwood drive one of the film's most energetic sequences of over-the-top farce.

Screen Shot 2022-04-19 at 3.52.25 PM

Richard E. Grant's inspired portrayal of Withnail (circa 1969) identifies the fiendish character as on par with Hunter S. Thompson for being ahead of the counter-culture curve and equally in need of drugs and alcohol. Dig the Ralph Steadman poster art for this movie. The Hunter Thompson connection is strong. 

Screen Shot 2022-04-19 at 3.52.36 PM

Withnail proved a breakout role for Grant's feature film debut. Grant went on to give a similarly inspired performance three years later under Bruce Robinson's direction in another cult gem, "How to Get Ahead In Advertising."

Screen Shot 2022-04-19 at 3.52.43 PM

"Withnail and I" is a weird time capsule. Music by Jimi Hendrix informs the film's late '60s atmosphere of intellectual and economic desperation. Withnail and Marwood represent British underclass archetypes whose irreverence is their greatest asset and their most damning flaw, never mind that they are unrequited gay lovers at heart.

Screen Shot 2022-04-19 at 3.52.51 PM

"London is a country coming down from its trip. We are 91 days from the end of this decade and there's going to be a lot of refugees." Withnail and Marwood are pre-disastered, and hopelessly in love.

Withnail

Rated R. 107 mins. 

5 Stars

A British cult film classic seems like just the thing to break Cole and Mike out of their hangover from SHOCKTOBER! Sadly, Mike fell down in the Craft Beer department so we're pretending to drink Stella Artois for our lively discussion. Get out the cutlery, you'll need at least five pieces for episode #77. 

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Featured Video

SMART NEW MEDIA® Custom Videos

COLE SMITHEY’S MOVIE WEEK

COLE SMITHEY’S CLASSIC CINEMA

Throwback Thursday


Podcast Series