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Film Reviews Withnail and I still

Published on October 21st, 2012 | by Michaela Buckley


Marwood & I

One of my favourite films of all time is Withnail & I.

It’s a perfect example of what I love about British comedy, which is about the only thing us Brits can do well these days.

A 1987 film based on an unpublished novel by the director, Bruce Robinson about life in 1960’s Camden and 2 hapless sods attempting to have a holiday.

I remember first watching it when I bought it in an attempt to impress a potential mate and using it to sleazily coerce them round my flat. Honestly, I wasn’t really paying much attention to it.
After that conquest (inevitably) failed, I shelved the film and forgot about it for a few months and only picked it up much later when I was rooting through my DVDs whilst drunk.
It was during this moment of solitary brain-burial that I began to appreciate the bleak and dark wit of Withnail & I, with its endlessly quoted dialogue and bafflingly relevant situations.

Like everyone ever, my favourite character is the charming Withnail, a self-proclaimed thespian whose recent hard luck in jobs has found himself living a pathetic and dismal life in a flat with his friend Marwood, the titular I, (whose name is not mentioned in the film).

“If you hit me, it’s murder!”

The film is told from Marwood’s point of view and mostly plays out in a small cottage in Cumbria, after the pair manage to convince Withnail’s uncle to lend them his key so they can have a short holiday and as you can imagine much mischief ensues. It’s well loved for it’s rich envisionment of 60’s low-life and it features some of the best dark comedy ever, as well as memorable lines for all occasions. Since its release it has gained a large and devoted fan following, with visits to Withnailshooting locations and events held in celebration, there’s even a drinking game, in which you drink along with the characters in real time. I would not advise it, as the list is probably fatal and includes vinegar and the famed Camberwell Carrot.

The music of Withnail & I is absolutely incredible, the original soundtrack is minimalistic and acoustic, while the featured tracks include blues and Hendrix. “All along the Watchtower” is played over one of the best scenes in the film, I only listen to this song with this video playing!

Withnail & I is like a fine wine and only gets better with each viewing, everyone I have ever talked to about this film has said they weren’t too fond of it the first time round, but all love it now. It’s so incredible, especially considering the budgetary restrictions and should be on everyone’s DVD shelf. There’s a great anniversary edition out in the UK with the elusive soundtrack so there’s no excuse.

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