Bruce Robinson’s nostalgic and semi-autobiographical (1st alert) debut quickly blossomed into a late night student ‘cult classic’ of the 80s, which is where it should have stayed.
However, it is lauded as one of the finest British comedies of its time, and heaven forbid, of all time!! The yarn concerns two unemployed actors (2nd alert) living in Camden in 1969. "I” is Marwood (McGann) a drifter and Withnail (Grant) is his eccentric, selfish roommate. Fed up with London, they embark on a disastrous weekend in the country. “At times riotously funny, at others delicately understated and loaded with poignancy, this is a film to cherish again and again.” (Company hype)
Unemployed actors living in Camden are not interesting. Largely depressing and rarely funny. Nobody cares for actors who don’t became the stars they think they deserve. It has a sad and empty arrogance. However it has been hiked to cult status by that decade of boys who shared bedsits in the late 60s. And here we are, still celebrating it 32 years on. Luckily my ill opinion has never put an audience off. Come for the nostalgia ride. Who knows, on a big screen, you might see it for what it is. (JH)