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Film Studies 101
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Richard E Grant
Paul McGann
Richard Griffiths.
Directors
Bruce Robinson.
Screenwriters
Bruce Robinson.
Running Time
107 minutes

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Withnail And I
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Plot
It's London in the mid-60s and two young actors living on the edge of reality decide to go for a small retreat in the countryside. The rest is history...


Review

Apparently, right now, an episode of Star Trek is being broadcast somewhere around the world. But so what? Far more impressive is the thought that, at this very moment, another group of happy campers are settling down in front of the telly to watch a video of Withnail And I. All of them as drunk as skunks.

Even re-released on the big screen to celebrate the film's tenth anniversary, it has to be said that, for a cult movie, Withnail has a less than tantalising premise. Set at the fag-end of the 60s, the film opens with two dissolute, unemployed actors - Withnail (Grant) and 'I' (McGann, the story's narrator who is never referred to by name in the film, but for anoraks, was named Marwood in the screenplay) - who become fed up with their squalid London abode and convince Withnail's ultra-camp uncle Monty (Griffiths) to lend them the keys to his country cottage.

Unfortunately, the rural retreat turns out to be a freezing hell-hole and, to make matters worse, Monty unexpectedly turns up and begins flirting with a decidedly reluctant 'I'. Eventually, our heroes arrive back at the Big Smoke to have, well, a big smoke. And, as far as plot goes, that's about it.

Okay, so there are drink and drugs and groovy 60s music. Moreover, Grant and McGann are excellent throughout. But what has really given Withnail its enduring appeal is Bruce Robinson's script. Crammed with a ready-made lexicon of off-beat catch phrases ("Don't you threaten me with a dead fish!" etc.) Withnail And I seesaws between hilarity and tragedy in a manner that doesn't waste a single slurred syllable. The end result is not only incredibly funny but also one of the saddest, sharpest and, hell, downright educational movies ever made.


Verdict
Fans can mouth the words of Grant's big speeches along with him, relishing every viperish turn of phrase...this is and always will be a perfect dark comedy and a student staple.


Reviewed by


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Withnail And I
Empire Star Rating

A cult classic, which is one of the funniest films I've ever seen. There are too many hilarious scenes (a personal favourite is the dishes scene near the beginning) and each performance is perfect. The ending....its so moving, and its brilliant. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MovieAddict247 at 09:59, 26 June 2009 | Report This Post


Withnail and I

One of my all time favorite British films. McCann and Grant are phenomenal (why haven't they become bigger stars?). Fantastic script and Brown is hysterical. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 15:57, 29 November 2008 | Report This Post


i carnt take asprin without whisky ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 17:30, 21 October 2007 | Report This Post


i carnt take asprin without whisky ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 17:30, 21 October 2007 | Report This Post


Brilliant British film its a must see! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by casino at 00:08, 06 May 2007 | Report This Post


Withnail and I

Only watched this recently and it was one of the best comedies I've ever seen and its british! It was quite tragic too but I was laughing too much to notice to be honest! "Oh no I couldn't I'm spaced!" Class! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dude No.9 at 21:18, 03 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Withnail And I

What, no mention of Ralph Brown's performance as "Danny"? An incredibly underrated actor who played a stunning supporting part, personally, second only to Richard E. Grant. ... More

Posted by Chancellor_of_the at 22:56, 10 January 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Withnail And I

It was on New Years Day, pitch-perfect scheduling! Never has the word cunt been used to better effect.   'We mean you no haaaarm!' ... More

Posted by Johnny Pneumonia at 16:23, 10 January 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Withnail And I

One of the best British comedies ever, the wit is so dry, acerbic yet so completely charming that you can't help but be won over by it. It is easily Richard E Grant's finest performance, it always makes me wonder why he didn't become a huge star. Paul McGann is delightful as "I” (again, whatever happened to his career?) and Richard Griffiths serves up a wonderfully camp treat. A fantastic tale of strange yet tragic characters, with some of the best quotes ever:   "I mean to have ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tbird at 15:34, 10 January 2006 | Report This Post



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