I saw “Withnail and I” yesterday. Funny as fuck. Unexpectedly camp as well. A strange thing about the film is how it feels like a kind of trip. It passes through phases. At first I didn’t see the homosexual nightmare Uncle coming. It seems as though he is a harmless and rather charming old man, but I found that I was drawn into the paranoia of the character â€œIâ€ and whatever the hell he was on at that stage. I was unsure if it was paranoia that made it appear as though Uncle Monty was on the pull or if he actually was. Or was I just being naive. When it finally becomes clear that the Uncle has other intentions, the playoff between the characters seems to enter a new phase of insanity.
The crazy thing about â€œWithnail and Iâ€ was that it manages to capture the surreal nature and conscious experience of being out of it. Someone wrote of Seamus Heany that his writing is like consciousness itself. The blend of paranoia and lateral thinking/conversation almost convinced me that my consciousness had also been altered. I guess the viewer is the â€œIâ€, hence the title of the film.
I’ve often wondered how it would be possible to express to an audience in a fictitious work (or even a documentary) an atmosphere of being under the influence of something. Is it enough to record a series of stoned episodes and then cobble them together into a drama? How does the author allow their thinking to mimic being in that state while actually being sober so they can record it? And create situations with it? Am I too repressed or self conscious to do it? Or is it because I have never tried? Probably a mix of them both.
I was also surprised to learn that Richard E Grant is apparently a teetotaler.