All right, this is the plan. We get in there and get wrecked, then we eat a pork pie, then we drop a couple of Surmontil-50s each. That means we'll miss out on Monday but come up smiling Tuesday morning.
This is the only movie I have been exposed to in my overly visual life that makes me burst out laughing even if it’s the 57th time I put it on. The English have this way of manipulating humour where they say the most ridiculous things in the most sophisticated manner to make them unnecessarily hilarious.
Here is a piece of work that is named Britain’s best comedy and that took Bruce Robinson seven years to write into a book and then change into a screenplay. Released in 1986, this semi-autobiographical flick is renown amongst students and rings true with anyone who has had the university experience. Of a kitchen so dirty you are advised to arm yourself before entering its hellish twilight zone of strange smells, matter oozing from the unknown and where ‘a teabag’s growing!’. Of hankering after whatever poison you can ingest to take you away from the infernal reality of daybreak and another day. Of no heating, no food, no money, no job. I think it’s quintessentially British to make an entire movie based on the lighter side of addiction, unemployment and poverty.
It’s London in 1969, it’s gray and forlorn, the puddles on the roads are large and unavoidable, and people are soberly sombre. Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and Marwood (the narrator) are two ‘nearly 30’ unemployable actors living in a house they have inhabited since they were students. They’re evidently also maintaining an attitude and lifestyle that has also not evolved since then. In Withnail, we see a selfish, self-entitled, spineless shady substance abuser whose greatest tragedy in life is being ‘out of wine.’ Marwood (Paul McGann) is a little more apprehensive and afraid of what reality must taste like. He has a palpable fear of what a life of accountability, stability and security will impose on him; ‘We are indeed drifting into the arena of the unwell. Making enemies of our own futures.’ They’re stuck in a rut, reclining in idleness and clutching to the last strands of ‘the greatest decade in the history of mankind’, the ghost of the 60’s and the wild abandon of ones student years.
In a nutshell, overly enunciated words, recklessly bleak substance abuse, melancholy melodrama and all around hilarity at the well put misery of our protagonists.
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