on 3 October 2006
For the 20th anniversary of this 1986 production a 3 disc set has been assembled which contains a host of extras which includes a director's commentary, a channel 4 documentary and the stunning soundtrack.
This comedy about a couple of out of work actors which stars Richard E Grant and Paul McGann set at the tail end of the 60's who escape their squalid London flat to go to on a holiday in the Lake District, the rich dialogue which contains and ever increasing amount of insults really starts to flow once all involved start drinking heavily.
This is an excellent package for a film that has a huge cult following since its release, a rare example of stunning British cinema given the re-release it deserves a must see film.
on 2 February 2013
Quite simply a masterpiece. People often talk about how funny it is, or how amazing Richard Griffiths is, or the haunting soundtrack, or the astonishing ending (the most moving I have ever seen)- yet few mention the beauty of the script. So much of this film is like listening to poetry: think of Monty's "but old now, there can be true beauty without decay" or Danny's little speech about the ending of the 60s. The only script that compares to Withnail for the sheer beauty of its language is Lawrence of Arabia. I cannot understand why this is not revered as a masterpiece and as possibly the greatest British film ever made (I suspect it has something to do with Monty's homosexual assault- or perhaps it is just one of those films that some people don't 'get'). American critics often say "it's OK, but you've probably got to be British to understand the appeal". I don't think that's true, but I guess it IS a very British film: the cynicisim, the nihilism and despair, the perpetual grey skies/ rain and the sense that all of this can be redeemed by humour, by irony and by extraordinary, larger than life, anarchic eccentrics. If I was living abroad in tropical luxury I would only have to watch 20 minutes of this film before I'd be tearfully longing for the rain and gloom and cynicism of my native island, in spite of its many, many faults.
on 19 February 2010
This is my favourite film of all time the conversion to blu ray is good you can actually see posters and labels in the kitchen previously just a blurry mess.
What impressed me the most was the sound quality the initial music as you turn it on with a decent digital sound set up it feels like your there. I've had this film on every format and must have seen it 30 times and still probably will watch it again. Highly recommend.
Bruce Robinson's "Withnail and I" is a modern classic, beloved by its cult following, and can be rewatched so many times that most people feel the need to have a spare copy handy just in case one wears out. Indeed, if you can hold on to your copy without lending it to someone and never getting it back, you're doing better than the rest of us!
Loosely based upon his own life, this is a story of two 'resting' actors and how they try in vain to escape the festering stink-hole that is Camden Town in 1969 by having a weekend out in country. Richard E. Grant's astonishing performance as the brilliantly sarcastic, cynical and eloquent anti-hero Withnail, is counterbalanced by the aloof Marwood (better known as 'I'), from whose perspective the film is based around. Richard Griffiths amazingly camp performance as Uncle Monty is one of his greatest roles, and when thrown into the mix with the scheming Withnail and the unsuspecting 'I', it makes for one of the most fascinating menage-a-trois ever to be caught on camera. Aside from the three main characters, there isn't really many other people in the film, but they include the late Michael Elphick as a poacher (who threatens Withnail with a dead fish), Withnail's dodgy mate Danny (who invents the legendary 'Camberwell Carrot', a joint that utilises up to 12 skins) and Presuming Ed (who doesn't say anything in the film except for 'Hare Rama').
Probably the most quoted movie in British history, nearly every single line is like a sound-bite. It has also spawned the most infamous drinking game in movie history, which involves trying to keep up with Withnail's drinking throughout the movie, which in reality is actually impossible. It is the mark of how great an actor Richard E. Grant is to point out that he doesn't drink himself, yet manages to portray drunkenness to absolute perfection, even to the point of giving one of the most convincing portrayals of a hangover in history.
The DVD contains a great documentary which has plenty of Bruce Robinson himself, and discusses how the characters came about, and how the film has earned cult status among other things. It also offers you a couple of different sound options just incase you have a fancy 5.1 system or something similar. There is also some nice stills of Grant and McGann being stupid in a bathroom, and a commentary track by McGann and Ralph Brown (who plays Danny in the film) which is worth a listen.
Don't just buy this movie... buy two or three, you're going to need them!
First thing I would like to say is I love this film, I had it on DVD so I thought I would upgrade to Blu-ray. I sat down for the night and inserted the Blu-ray disc into my player and oh my god the picture quality and sound was just awful, I did at one point think I put the DVD in by accident, but no I could not believe how bad this was, this was a disgrace and one of the worst I have ever seen.
What I don't understand is the STEELBOOK is beautiful and you would expect a better release, plus the outer card-slip has the DTS HD logo, but the film audio is in 2.0 PCM, which sounded awful. This is a great film shame about the release.
It is a pity that this film is not better known in the US. The story follows the antics of two young actors who are seeking work in the trendy London of the late 60s, drinking their way to oblivion to blunt their neurotic hysteria. At turns pathetic, hilarious, witty, and disturbing, the two actors are truly wonderful. In a masterful performance, Richard Grant established his reputation as an eccentric Englishman with this film. While this is a black comedy, it is also completely believable.
Frazzled with the city life, they decide they need to take a vacation in the wintry countryside, securing the permission of Withnail's obese, lascivious uncle, who has designs on the young Marwood (who serves as narrator). Once they arrive without food or fuel, they are shocked at the primitive conditions they find; the countryfolk are taciturn and unreceptive to their antics, but this doesn't stop them from getting loudly drunk in local pubs and insulting anyone more straight-laced than them. Upon the arrival of the uncle, Marwood is relentlessly accosted until he lies (or so I think) his way out of his clutches. They return to the chaos in London and finally part. It is the end of the 60s scene.
This is brilliant filmmaking, one of the most interesting post-Beatle projects of George Harrison. I warmly recommend it as an unforgettable film experience.
on 11 March 2011
Why in god's name isnt there any subtitles for the hard of hearing...i know ordinary mortals dont give two ticks..but
at least on the blu ray discs there should be subtitles!!!!!!!
Anyway rant over....yeah its a classic.Could watch it all day ..well on my own because my wife is deaf she doesnt count!!!!
on 3 February 2012
This is a great film, as we all know, so please avoid the Studiocanal version, which is an edited version. Spend a couple of extra quid on getting the original version instead, it will be worth it. Amazon really should do much, much better with the product reviews it allows, so that it is clear what all these different offers contain. If it had I wouldn't have wasted money on buying this dud.
on 14 July 2007
There's not much else to add to the glowing reviews of this film which is by far the best movie I have ever seen (and I've seen quite a few) except to draw a parallel between the character of Withnail and a Shakesperian tragic hero. I know that there are students of literature out there who will baulk at the very idea but that's probably because they are too snobby to consider a film like this a work of art. But it is. I must have watched this film 50 times but I never cease to feel a cathartic chill run down my spine when Marwood says goodbye to Withnail in the end:
'I shall miss you Withnail.'
'I shall miss you too. Chin chin.'
This scene is one of the most moving I have ever seen. The drunken fool Withnail, at whom and with whom with have laughed, and who has spent the whole film not giving a toss about his friend, is suddenly and breathtakingly turned into the tragic hero he is and all the laughing gets stuck in your throat so suddenly that you feel shocked and guilty that you have laughed at all. Withnail's pathetically sad attempts to get Marwood to have one last drink are shockingly tragic. 'There's always time for a drink.' If that is not Shakespearian, I don't know what is. But it gets better (or worse depending on how you look at it) with Withnail's final solioquy, delivered in the pouring rain to a pack of miserable wolves...it is his final great act and the tragedy is no-one is there to see it except the wolves. When he walks off into the distance, you are left stunned (well I am) just like when you see Othello unexpectedly stick the dagger in his own heart.
Withnail and I is described and reviewed as a comedy, but I see it as a tragi-comedy. If Withnail and I was just a comedy, we would have long forgotten it. In many ways, it is a brilliant comedy but it is much more than that. I guess we all take out of art what we want and according to how we see the world. I can only speak for myself when I say that Withnail and I is the most beautifully crafted film I have ever seen. I happily confess that it helps to be British (esp. English) and male, but I would argue that anyone over, say, 18 who doesn't feel that carthatic chill at the final scene, is not fully human.
For those of you (and there are a couple) who say they don't like the film, all I can say is: 'Very, very, foolish words man.'
on 26 June 2005
Hedonism at it's best, if you ever wanted to be an actor - this is a must see and if you haven't see it anyway. Richard E Grant is nothing if not superb in this role, older viewers will go back to their youths, drunken ramblings and comradery with enough doses of wit to keep everyone awake.