I Understudied Constantine


The screenplay must have weighed fifty pounds on its own; this film is a fucking cauliflower, and it’s MASSIVE.

I can’t make any new observations; It’s been reviewed to death. All I know is, the movie is epic and immense whilst somehow managing to contain itself within a dirty wet world where two quid is rather a lot of money, where coffee is mistaken for soup, and where dolls need diaper changes. It’s nowt, and it’s all. As nothing happens, so does everything. 


And this: it’s real. It has spawned so many bad impressions, sweary drinkathons, and bad pilgrimage misquotes on Crow Crag’s cottage door. When released, I’m guessing that Withnail wasn’t HALF of what it would later become. It’s grown, and continues to do so.

The passion that Robinson evokes is wherein lies his genius. Ahead of its time, WITHNAIL AND I doesn’t know what’s to come, or the legacy it is to leave with its Beckett comparisons and the tidal wave of visitors to Penrith. (This is the muddy juncture where fanatics – in the true sense of the word – can be found hopping into a fucked Mark II Jag and retracing the nothingly-everything journey of Withnail and Marwood).

The technique?

1) Point the camera and shoot.

2) Let it run.

For the correct sort of wetness, you should also obtain what looks like unadulterated child’s piss. 

Then let rip with long scenes, editless one-shots, potatoes on forks, and beautiful silences. It’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are ALIVE. It’s Vladimir and Estragon-and there’s even a convenient carrot. It’s horrible and bleak. It’s on-location-visitable. It’s Hendrix Heaven. It’s Bruce Robinson’s life story presented as an étude in booze.

In your fucking FACE, Zeffirelli.

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