Withnail & I

Year: 1987

Writer/Director: Bruce Robinson

Budget: ?

Gross: $1 554 889

Withnail & I is a british comedy about two unemployed actors living in a filthy apartment in 1969 london decide to get away from it all and spend some time in the countryside, but things don't go as planned when the living conditions turn out to be no better than what they were dealing with in their london flat.

if i'm being totally honest with you (and you know that i always am) it took me about 20 minutes or so to get into this film. and not because that is when the "action" starts, because not much happens throughout the film. instead, it took me that while to figure out the characters and just allow myself to go with them for the next 80 minutes or so.

like i said, nothing much happens in the movie. the guys go to the countryside and meet a few "locals" and have some drinks and spend some time with withnail's uncle monty who gave them the cottage in the first place, and who has quite a fondness for "I". the film is a character piece and it is those characters (especially richard e. grant's withnail) that make it so much fun.

it doesn't matter if these two are sitting in an apartment getting high with their crazy drug dealer friend, getting drunk in a bar while pretending to be veterans, arguing about how to kill and cook a chicken or just bemoaning how they can't get any parts and their agent sucks. with these two you just enjoy the watching and the listening as "I" plays the toned-down/"reasonable" one to withnail's pretentious, over-the-top performer who seems to live by the shakespearean motto that all the worlds a stage.

the film is a comedy, but it is also definitely british so not everyone is going to be laughing out loud throughout the movie. rather the humour can be quite dry and character based so that for me it came across as more of a dramedy in its tone and my reaction to it.

speaking of tone. director, bruce robinson throws some great jimi hendrix and beatles music at us that have this great counter-intuitive effect of breaking the film out of the stereotype british countryside comedy that you may have been expecting. this is the 60s after all.

this isn't a film that you will middle-ground on. you are probably either going to quite like it or quite not like it depending on how the dry humour and characters site with you. however, how you feel about it at the start, might not be how you feel by the end of the film after spending some quality time with Withnail & I.