Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Review: "Withnail & I"

"We've gone on holiday by mistake!"

"We must have the finest wines available to humanity, and want them here, and we want them now!"

I'm coming in late to the party, because I only just heard of "Withnail & I" a few months ago, reading interviews with Richard E. Grant during the press period for his directorial debut, "Wah-Wah." This is supposed to be one of the big cult flicks of the 1980s, like Alex Cox's "Repo Man" -- and I'm happy to say that it is, in fact, great.

Only the Brits could have made a movie like this, I imagine. Bruce Robinson, the auteur (and man responsible for writing "The Killing Fields," among others), crafts this tale of a wasted duo who, existentially and pharmaceutically, wouldn't wait for Godot even if he was dealing them barbituates. This is shot through with such a dark, bent, late ’60s, tune-in-drop-out nihilism, informed by Robinson's own time spent with a coterie of similarly-wasted actors during that same period. Paul McGann and Richard E. Grant (especially Grant, conducting on a clinic with his first big role) are great in embodying Robinson's alter egos, a signature film duo for the ages.

And the best thing is that the fucker is full of quotable lines. "I must have some booze! I demand to have some booze!"