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[center][font=Times New Roman][size=4]Withnail and I[/size][/font] [/center] [center][font=Times New Roman][size=3][img]http://www.withnail-and-i.com/pictures/withnail11.jpg[/img][/size][/font][/center]
[center]From the start, Withnail and I could be mistaken for something written by Hunter S. Thompson. Its got a definite style to it that mirrors that of the best gonzo work. The story is of a similar rambling at first then it gets more toward using these charters in comedy situations. Essentially the story is quite basic, two friends who have a liking toward drinking and drugs decide their apartment is too crazy for them to handle and go out into a bare cabin in the country owned by Withnail?s eccentric and gay uncle. After getting there the film takes a turn toward charter comedy, and puts its full faith on the madness of its charters to make often used comedy situations their own. And with good reason, Withnail and the unnamed I are two of the best charters I?ve encountered in a while, and the acting is spot on, especially considering the low budget. They are later forced into the company of the eccentric uncle who is nearly as great as they are.
It also relies quite a bit on the ramblings of its charters, most of the comedy is dialogue and most of the dialogue is rambling. They use the frantic and paranoid tone created (and justly so) in the earlier parts of the film to make the move to the country an interesting step from the beginning, it begs the question ?How will these two crazies function in the middle of nowhere?. And the comedy then comes from how they function nearly exactly the same as in the city but this time in surroundings, which bring even more focus o their bizarre actions and dialogue. A step that is effective in pointing out their different bizarre personality traits that paints of picture for you to recognize their different actions and laugh even before anything actually happens. For example the bull scene, we know that I is notably paranoid so when pitted against an animal that could very well kill him we know that comedy will ensue while he tries to choose his action. This also makes everything the characters do have a sort of familiarity that captures the audience into getting to love the crazy characters.
As I?ve mentioned a few times, the situations presented to the characters are nothing new. In fact a few of them you might be able to see on Saturday morning cartoons. The bull attacking with the character stuck closed in, trying to kill a chicken, the crazed uncle making gay movements on a straight guy (well maybe not), and the mad poacher stalking them (maybe not on cartoons, but elsewhere?) are far from creative but they provide situations for the characters to react to and their interesting personalities provide for a twang of originality. Even the smaller characters all have some odd habits and way about them and seeing all these different bizarre people interact and go through these different obstacles makes it quite funny. There is also a notable tone set that most comedies don?t have, I earlier compared it to Gonzo works and I stick with this. It has the certain paranoid and mad ravings combined with depraved character portraits that made Hunter S. Thompson famous. In an early scene taking place in a bathroom, Mr. I rambles on about a man who called him a ?ponce? earlier and how he may be coming to attack him. This felt and sounded perfectly gonzo and made me realize that the atmosphere would remain a sort of dark but funny depression. [/center]
[center]During this crazy ride we are presented with a great number of wonderful lines and great dialogue, it is this that keeps the previously mentioned ranting attitude afloat. During the film, I can?t count how many times I found myself laughing at their conversations and the witty dialogue, particularly the quick witted and slightly dumb lines coming from Withnail. But put along side the hilariously paranoid and sometimes mad ravings of Mr. I, it adds up to perfection as far as conversation goes. As other characters enter the story the fast paced conversations engulf their personalities and make it that much more interesting, which makes it a joy to see the two interact with ?outsiders?, I found the scenes with Monty of particular brilliance. Below are some examples of this awesome dialogue: [/center]
[center][font=Times New Roman][b]Withnail:[/b][/font] [/center] [center][font=Arial]I fail to see my family's of any interest to you. I've absolutely no interest in yours. I dislike relatives in general and in particular mine.
[/font] [/center] [center][b][font=Arial][color=black]Withnail[/color][/font][/b][font=Arial][color=black]:[/color][/font] [/center] [center][font=Arial][color=black]What are we supposed to do with that? [b]I[/b]:[/color][/font] [/center] [center][font=Arial][color=black]Eat it. [/color][/font] [/center] [center][color=black][b][font=Arial]Withnail[/font][/b][font=Arial]:[/font][/color] [/center] [center][font=Arial][color=black]Eat it? ****er's alive. [b]I[/b]:[/color][/font] [/center] [center][font=Arial][color=black]Yeah, you've got to kill it. [b]Withnail[/b]:[/color][/font] [/center] [center][font=Arial][color=black]Me? I'm the firelighter and fuel collector. [b]I[/b]:[/color][/font] [/center] [center][font=Arial][color=black]Yeah, I know, but I got the logs in. It takes away your appetite just looking at it. [b]Withnail[/b]:[/color][/font] [/center] [center][font=Arial][color=black]No it doesn't. I'm starving.[/color][/font] [/center]
[center][font=Arial][[i]about a chicken[/i]] [b]I[/b]:[/font] [/center] [center][font=Arial]I think you should strangle it quickly before it starts trying to make friends with us. [/font] [/center]
[center][font=Arial][font=Verdana]Things like this keep everything running smoothly and make for some of the funniest moments I?ve seen recently.
[/font][/font] [/center] [center][font=Arial][font=Verdana]My only small complaint is with the end, not the very end but the time between arriving back in London and the very end. I thought that this felt a little out of place, and while I enjoyed it I felt it could have been done a bit more smoothly. This is my only complaint and it is a small one but without the country element my interest had died and the film should have either lingered longer or cut it a bit shorter. Though I will say that based on a scene by scene analysis, the final scene with Danny was one of my favorites, but that didn?t help with the out of place feeling I kept. [/font][/font] [/center]
[center][font=Arial][font=Verdana]Overall, this was a most enjoyable film. Its quick dialogue and great characters made the basic situations it presented as hilarious as I could have hoped. Plus being a fan of Gonzo work I really enjoyed the tone of it, and it?s a tone that a lot of films don?t succeed at. The relationship was great, and it provided a nice rock to build around. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants either a good time or a character comedy. I loved it and I thank Marcus for the recommendation.[/font][/font] [/center]
[center]We are treated first to just a taste of both the brutality and methods of the Russin mob, this sets the scene for an exceedingly grim look at organized crime and the relationships that rule them.[/center]
[center]In reality this doesn't act like a mob film, it acts quite like a melodrama. The story begins to fan out as being centered on a baby and a diary left from a recently diseased girl whom it soon becomes known was involved in the Russian mob run by the brutal yet calm Semyon (Played very well by Armin Mueller-Stahl). The baby is under the self-given control of Naomi Watts' character Anna. As she meets with this boss she also encounters a wild and angry Kirill (Played again quite well by Vincent Cassel) and the other center of the story which has the best performance of the film by Viggo Mortensen, Nikolai. The characters each interact with each other and they all form a web that seems to capture both the melodrama of an abandoned baby melodrama and a straight mob movie. The main problem with this plot (and the movie as a whole) when compared to Cronenbergs most recent other film is that this one is much harder to get involved in. It keeps the fewer quite isolated from the characters, this may be because AHoV played on a wide felt idea of hidden pasts whereas this plays on no real human idea that everyone can grasp. This lacks the emotional meaning that I felt so strongly in AHoV and the rather slow pace of it kept me from really gaining the connection I wanted. That is another thing, the slower pace of the movie felt right to me, being expecting a film much like its predecessor but the way it was advertised was as an action mob movie. When in fact the action totals about 7 minutes throughout the entire film, but as is the way with Cronenberg it is brutally realistic. That doesn?t just apply to the violence; the one sex scene is quite realistic. This helps a bit with the problem I was having with not really becoming involved as it made me feel like this was much more a part of the real world which made me feel more emotion for the characters. I am reminded of what my dad said to me while we were watching it, during the scene where Viggo cuts of a dead persons fingers after instructing the weaker of heart to leave, he turned to me and said ?I wish he?d asked us to leave?. But that is just it; we saw it, which made us more in tune with the characters who were experiencing this. And as character driven as this was, it was important to feel for the characters.[/center]
[center]Before I give my final statement I shall touch on the ending of the film, as I?ve heard many complaints of this being anticlimactic. I will try to avoid blatant spoilers but if you have yet to see it and are worried about ruining it, I advise you skip the following paragraph:[/center]
[center]I did not feel this ending was at all anticlimactic, I felt it fit with the film and wrapped up everything I wanted to be wrapped up. It also had an interesting and appropriate open ending that I thought was an interesting question to beg of the audience. But to bring up comparisons again, the ending of AHoV was one of the best endings of recent years. This one definitely pales in comparison but fits well with the film and I really couldn?t have asked for something more. [/center]
[center]Overall, it was a fine film. I greatly prefer early horror movie Cronenberg but his new way has given nothing but good thus far. This does not disappoint, and I eagerly anticipate another film from him in the future. Be sure however that you are prepared for a slower and more melodramatic mob movie then the trailer lets on. [/center]
[center][font=Courier New][size=3]The first and most notable thing about The Fountain is its grace and beauty. In recent days films have fallen to pure stupid jokes and explosions instead of focasing on shots and the sheer beauty of the film. So when one comes along that is as well done as this then it is to be cherished and appriciated if for nothing more than its prettiness. The main problem with the more artistic films such as this or 2001: A Space Oddyssey is that they generaly leave much to be desired asw far as plot and story. This one handles it much better than the later although it didn't quite meet the same artistic quality. I will admitt that I still wanted a bit more on the side of plot, mostly toward the end which turned into something very similar to 2001 in that it was almost a giant montage. [/size][/font][/center]
[center][font=Courier New][size=3]Most of my major problems with The Fountain were in the plot and structure of the movie. Unlike 2001, it had prmise of good plot yet left it a bit underdeveloped. The end, while artisticly great, felt a bit convoluted. It also took me quite a while to become engaged in the charcters and even then I found it difficult to relate to our male lead. That is not to say Hugh Jackman did not do a good job, which he did, but more that the charcter was never really presented in a way which I could bring myself into him. I will say that i much prefer the grace that Aronofsky exhibited in this film to his previously cut-laden work in Requiem For a Dream. [/size][/font][/center]
[center][font=Courier New][size=3]Overall, the flaws are left behind by the artistic value of the film. While it doesn't have the best plot , it is perfect for fans of the more artistic films and even those who enjoy the wierd and thought-provoking type movie. [/size][/font][/center]