Funnymen Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan’s latest assignment from the British Observer sends them off to scenic Greece, their objective being to retrace Odysseus’ journey in The Odyssey, from Troy to Ithaca. Along the way, Brydon and Coogan entertain themselves through a fresh string of spot-on celebrity impressions and culturally rooted non-sequiturs. Because of course, discussions about Alexander the Great lead them into gangster cinema impersonations ranging from Marlon Brando to Ray Winstone. And true to form, debates over how Hercules was so easily forgiven for his familial homicide give way to modern social media critiques in the pitch of Werner Herzog.
On its surface, The Trip to Greece is more of the warm comfort food that fans of the deadpan duo and director Michael Winterbottom’s three previous cinematic travelogue installments—beginning with 2011’s critically adored The Trip—know and love. But there’s more going on beneath the expertly improvised banter this time. Continuing with the bittersweet musings about aging heard throughout 2017’s The Trip to Spain, Brydon and Coogan’s Greek jaunt is underscored by an affecting melancholy rooted in mortality-based contemplations.—Matt Barone
Michael Winterbottom’s work for television includes The Magic Lantern, Forget About Me, Under the Sun, Cracker; Family. His features include Butterfly Kiss, In This World, and The Road to Guantanamo, as well as Welcome to Sarajevo, Wonderland, and 24 Hour Party People, which were all nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes.