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The Trip, a road movie in the North of England by Michael Winterbottom

The Trip, a road movie in the North of England by Michael Winterbottom

The director of “Shooting in an English Garden” (2005), “An Undefeated Heart” (2007) and “The Killer Inside Me” (2010) caught on the spot the setbacks and friendship of two sitcom actors English, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. The result, a series of 6 episodes, broadcast successfully on BBC two and crowned by a BAFTA, was transposed into a film of 1h47. “The Trip” is a successful and touching road movie, inhabited by the landscapes of Northern England, gastronomy, and the midlife crisis. And a nice proof that you don’t have to travel very far to find yourself.

At the last moment, British actor Steve Coogan invites his colleague Rob Brydon to replace his fiancée who has left for the United States to follow him on a gastronomic circuit in the North of England. While Rob is well settled in life, madly in love with his wife and his little girl and happy with his simple success as a TV actor and radio impersonator, Steven, himself a divorced and breaking up father in love, still dreams of Hollywood glory. The first spends his time imitating great actors, including Anthony Hopkins, Sean Connery and Michael Caine, and cuts short any serious conversation by clowning around. The second reassures himself by seducing anyone who wears a skirt and playing selfish bastards. One and the other climb a Monday morning in a 4/4 to make a tour of a memorable week of the most beautiful inns in the North of the country. But no Chablis, no scallop, or wild landscape in the mist manages to distract them from their midlife crisis…

This road movie bringing together two colleagues in competition more than two friends, allows Michael Winterbottom to get out of the clichés by presenting England to us as an exotic country. Frozen in their roles, the two accomplices sympathize, pass the time, sing Abba, eat refined dishes, but do not really manage to get closer, despite the circumstances. Deliberately slow, rich in magnificent images and carried by two actors who each try to pull the cover to themselves, “The Trip” skilfully oscillates between the rhythmless lethargy of the repetition of the announcement of the dishes that are going to be served and the tension point provided by the repetition of the same phrases of actors that the two accomplices imitate. Bitter-sweet, between appeasement and irritation, “The Trip” is above all a magnificent ode to deep and wild England.

“The Trip”, by Michael Winterbottom, with Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Margo Stilley and Claire Keelan, Great Britain, 2010, 1h47. Released July 20, 2011.

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