June 28, 2017
Withnail and I.
Review #956: Withnail and I.
Richard E. Grant (Withnail), Paul McGann ("...& I" - Peter Marwood), Richard Griffiths (Uncle Monty), Ralph Brown (Danny), Michael Elphick (Jake), Eddie Tagoe (Presuming Ed), and Daragh O'Malley (Irishman) Directed by Bruce Robinson.
How can a film feel (and look) so rough and yet manage to be such a gripping dark comedy cult classic? Made in England, Based on Robinson's life in London during the late 1960s, there is something magnetic about watching Grant and McGann (both in their first film roles) throughout its 107 minute run-time that never ceases to be anything other than darkly amusing. They don't chew the scenery as much drown it with alcohol and manic energy that is amazing to watch play out, with numerous highlights (one of which being them trying to cook a chicken) throughout. It's interesting watch Grant play an eccentric alcoholic, who in real life has a health condition that makes him incapable of processing alcohol properly, and he certainly pulls off a great performance that is endlessly watchable. McGann (who also narrates the film at times) also does a commendable job, conveying the neurotic level-headedness (as one can be when paired with a character like Withnail) that makes him easy to watch. Griffiths does a fine job in being exuberantly larger-than-life, and his last scene with McGann is quite riveting in its exchange. The rest of the cast is also pretty good in their roles as well, contributing to some excellent lines (one particular line involving bald people). The look of the movie is also easy to highlight, in part because of how it achieves a time capsule look (with one quote saying they were "91 days from the end of this decade" near the end of the film), with the scenery also looking quite fitting for the movie. On the whole, this is a roller coaster ride of a movie, with Grant and McGann pulling off great performances in a film that stands out among the countless British films featured throughout Movie Night.
Overall, I give it 9 out of 10 stars.