Withnail and I
Film Review


"We'll install a f@&^ing jukebox in here and liven all you stiffs up a bit!" Withnail and I is one of those films where if you like it, you'll love it, the lines will stick in your head, and you will find yourself quoting them. This is the type of film (like Napolean Dynamite or Repo Man) which you can watch again and again and it is still funny (or gets funnier). The film is about the last hurrah of a friendship and the end of the 1960s era of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Our heroes head out of London and into the countryside and wind up having many hilarious misadventures. "Withnail" is the histrionic narcissist who gets them both in a variety of distressing situations, while "I" is an anxious and excitable fellow, given to getting "the fear", and struggles to cope with it all. The plot is pretty random, in a natural way. I mean, the situations are plausible, and seem like they are just the type of thing you would hear someone tell a funny story about. But the action is not as outrageous and extreme as some comedies, rather what is extreme is the over-the-top reactions by our two leads. The acting has lots of youthful, natural energy and it feels like they really are two friends coming down after a long binge, who just cannot believe what they find themselves now in and have to deal with. The filmmaking has a "professional amateur" feel, in a good way, but is not quite what one would associate with either indie films or with amateur films. It is amateur in terms of the energy and the "let's make a movie" spirit (though some bits are a bit awkward). It is professional in the sense that the overall product has a feeling of unity, craft, being well put-together (which makes it rewatchable, and, again, reminiscent of Repo Man or Napoleon Dynamite). Withnail and I is a bit of a cult comedy, so anyone who enjoys British humor should give it a shot, as it may well become a favorite.

4.5 / 5.0

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