Monday, October 17, 2011
Withnail & I (3.5)
(Watch the Trailer)
1987 British comedy by Bruce Robinson.
"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..." (IMDB)
I had to look to IMDB this time for a synopsis because I'm still not entirely sure what this weird and ridiculous movie is all about.
When it started I was not prepared for, first the characters that were thrown at me, and then the lack of story that I kept waiting for. So what I thought this comedy was going to be quickly changed and instead I found myself trying to keep track of what these British people were saying. Some of the things were so ridiculous that I found myself giggling even before I decided to not care to figure the story out.
And that's the secret to this movie. It is bizarre British humour but almost to the point of being abstract and just weird to be weird. The characters ARE this movie and everything else is just there to support them as they wander around being eccentric, lost and ultimately hopeless in life. At first it's distracting, then it's funny and sometimes unnerving.
I thought I didn't like it at first. Then I started to really get into the characters and some scenes were so out there silly that I was laughing and having a great time. Then there were some awkward tense bits that confused me before being hilarious again.
Richard E. Grant (Penelope) makes this movie as Withnail. His character is almost impossible to define and yet was so magnetic to watch. You never knew what he was going to say or do next.
I still am not sure what this movie is about. Finding yourself? Friendship? Being an actor? Mental illness? Sexuality? Drugs? All of the above?
I think it is just about two friends who live completely strange lives. The story doesn't matter though, it's all about the characters and the mess they make.
The more I think about it the more I like it. I need to watch it again.