Dave White
Wah Wah Review

Dave's Rating:

4.5

… bitterly funny …

Who's in It: Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson, Emily Watson, Julie Walters

The Basics: The British love their former empire. They like it living. They like it dying. They like it in a box. They like it with a fox. And they love to make movies about it. It's a country in love with the romance of failure. So it's kind of lucky for them that they did it so well.

What's the Deal? This is the kind of movie American art-house audiences love (and I'm one of them, so whatever mockery I direct their way applies to me, too), because it's about fancy British people drinking and having sex and being bitterly funny while their entire way of living collapses around them. Why do we find that so appealing? I'm even baffled as I eat it up with a big spoon.

What's a Wah-Wah? It's what the American character (played by Watson) calls goofy upper-crust British slang expressions like "toodle pip." In doing so, she wins over the young boy whose character is basically a stand-in for a young Richard E. Grant (Withnail and I), the actor turned writer-director in charge of this whole thing. Oh, and another thing. Check out his book, called With Nails. It's his set diaries from his very cool acting career, and it's hilarious.

Historical Significance: It's the first film to be shot entirely in Swaziland, where it's set. That's in southeast Africa, FYI.

Be on the Lookout For: Fenella Woolgar, a British character actor who is always great in everything she's in, even if the movie itself is not as cool as she is.

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