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WITHNAIL & I

Director: BRUCE ROBINSON

107 minutes, U.K., 1987, Colour, D-Cinema


This film closes on Thursday, October 16th.

EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI

IFI CLASSIC

Withnail & I is a sozzled gem that is justly revered for showing little respect for the conventions of British cinema. Jaded, unemployable actor Withnail and his put-upon associate (referred to as Marwood in some sources, though never named on screen) are living out the fag end of the 1960s. Swinging London has passed them by, they live in a hovel of a flat where things might be alive in the unattended washing up, and they give themselves little option other than to drink.

They deal with the unwelcome attention of the libidinous Uncle Monty and drink; they go on holiday by mistake and drink; they demand “the finest wines available to humanity” and drink, and drink, and drink. Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann have never been better than they are here and while there’s an under-acknowledged poignancy to Bruce Robinson’s autobiographical script, it remains hilariously funny and eminently quotable. (Notes by Michael Hayden.)

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