Bradshaw Watch – ‘Withnail & I’ (1987)

For anyone struggling to get through Peter Bradshaw’s single-paragraph review of Withnail and I (1987) in The Guardian, here is a rundown of his thoughts on the film – minus bluntly-stated plot details he could have copy-pasted from Wikipedia:

  • One of the film’s stars, Richard Griffiths, died last year
  • Peter describes the film as a “brilliant fin de siècle comedy” – a term encompassing artworks and ideas associated with late 19th century France. It is almost completely meaningless in this context, perhaps meant to allude generally towards a feeling of decay and bohemian squalor. The main reason for its use here is, of course, to sound a bit clever
  • The film was directed by Bruce Robinson
  • The film has been re-released in cinemas
  • The film also stars Richard E Grant and Paul McGann as “the eponymous Withnail and I”
  • “Every line” of the film, according to Peter, is “a quotable joy” – though he neglects to give a single example. He does paraphrase one line, describing the recent death of actor Griffiths as “the ice in the cider of [his] enjoyment”
  • The film also stars Ralph Brown as a “lugubrious” drug dealer, a character who has ascended to “legendary status”. There may be reasons for this rise to fame – aspects of Brown’s performance, or of the character as written – but, if there are, Bradshaw chooses to leave them entirely unmentioned (as is his right!)
  • Peter is envious of people who are about to see the film for the first time – his concern for these lucky individuals is most likely why he is so very, very careful not to reveal any details whatsoever of the film’s underlying ideas, or details of the actors’ performances in his 148 word writeup.

DO NOT BE FOOLED. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COUNTERFEIT FILM CRITICISM, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL POLICE STATION – OR LEAVE A TESTIMONIAL ON FLICKBOOK.WORDPRESS.COM

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