Driving towards the Herefordshire home of writer and director Bruce Robinson was already proving something of an ordeal. Here I was, about to interview the creator of what must be the UK’s and possibly the world’s most iconically cool film, Withnail and I, and I was driving a non-descript VW Polo and feeling distinctly sober. Of course, I should have been in a clapped out 1960s Jag, dragging on a Gauloise and recklessly swigging from a bottle of Haut Brion while listening to Hendrix [ . . . ]
Withnail and I is a melancholic masterpiece and one of the funniest British films ever made. For its one-liners alone Bruce Robinson’s sweary caper is rightly regarded as a classic: “We’ve gone on holiday by mistake”. “Don’t threaten me with a dead fish”. “We want the finest wines available to humanity, we want them here and we want them now”. These droll zingers are fired off at such a clip, multiple viewings are required to savour them in their full glory. [ . . . ]
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.
Read Full Review: Review: Long-delayed ‘Rum Diary’ worth the wait – KVIA
“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.