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WITHNAIL AND I

Director: BRUCE ROBINSON

U.K. • 1986 • COLOUR • digital print • 104 MIN


It’s virtually impossible to get a good film print of Bruce Robinson’s cult classic because most copies have been ruined through constant running. So here’s a chance to catch Withnail and I in a digital print that’s guaranteed to contain every hilarious line of dialogue. In case someone out there has forgotten, the film is set in the late 1960s, which one of its spaced-out characters describes as ‘the greatest decade known to mankind.’ Like most things in this scathing black comedy, the observation is savagely ironic. Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and his friend Marwood (Paul McGann) are aspiring actors who share some squalid accommodation in London’s Camden Town, where they exist on an unhealthy diet of cigarettes, booze and illegal substances. Deciding that they need a break, the boys go on holiday ‘by mistake’, returning from a disastrous stay in the country to an uncertain future. So much for plot, but the film is distinguished by some inspired dialogue and performances as Robinson somehow combines hilarious depictions of his characters’ misadventures with genuine sympathy for their predicament.

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