Any film student worth their salt will tell you that absolutely essential viewing is Withnail & I. When I started at University studying film about 100 years ago give or take (actually it was 14 years ago) I hadn’t seen Withnail. Within two weeks of starting it became apparent that I had not actually lived, and thus needed to see it immediately. I watched it, I like it but upon that first viewing it didn’t quite inseminate me fully with its genius. The second time I got it. The third, fourth and beyond, the film just got better and better.
This is a film that represents Britain at its cinematic finest. Firstly it beautifully captures the [ . . . ]
Bruce Robinson has never topped the riotous comic miserabilism of his first film, the cult classic “Withnail and I” — he’s never even come close — but “The Rum Diary” might be considered hair of the dog after a 24-year-long career hangover. He’s back in his debauched and debunking element, which is reason enough to celebrate.
Pulling Focus: Withnail and I (1987)26 NOVEMBER 2016 FEATURES, REVIEWS BY SHANE SCOTT-TRAVIS
“The best British comedy ever made? Possibly. A masterpiece? Unquestionably.”– Ali Catterall, Film4
From the tender and impassioned sound of King Curtis’ live recorded cover of Procul Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” in the opening scene to the finishing drizzly goodbye by the wolf enclosure in Regent’s Park, Withnail and I is a funny, affectionate, and wistful perfection from writer/director Bruce Robinson.
While Robinson has never been a prolific filmmaker and his following films so far have proven a tad unfulfilling by comparison, nothing can temper or depreciate the strikingly idiosyncratic pleasures of his coming out party, Withnail and I. A lamentably sentimental comic chronicle of impoverished living in late-1960s Camden Town, the Swinging Sixties as presented by Robinson is a booze-fuelled, bleak and grimy place of dreggy pubs, unkempt cafes, and offensively filthy kitchens.
‘It was unbelievable,’ reports a visitor to the arts festival, which is held at the Cornish estate of the late 10th Earl of St Germans, a louche friend of Prince Charles.’Robinson was clearly drunk and his talk was such a shambles that members of the audience started booing.’
This led him to respond with a foul-mouthed rant which included calling the audience ‘a load of Ukip cunts’.’
This caused uproar, even though most of the audience were probably down from London themselves.
He won the UK final in early October with his cocktail On Holiday By Mistake (pictured), impressing the judges with what they described as “a masterclass in creating the perfect gin serve”.He was deemed to have best echoed this year’s theme of iconic London cinema with his recipe using Beefeater 24 and inspired by the film, Withnail and I.
The scene where Withnail orders “two large gins, two pints of cider” was used by Joe as inspiration for a twist on a Corpse Reviver #2, using cider syrup and cider vinegar as well as a pineau des Charentes and absinthe. It takes its name from another line spoken by Withnail.