Writer director Christopher Monger has to be the most economical director ever. There is so much story and there are so many great characters in The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain it is hard to believe this DVD clocks in at 96 minutes. If you enjoy offbeat British comedies like Waking Ned Devine, this film will most certainly please and entertain.
Hugh Grant (Notting Hill) plays Anson, the young assistant of cartographer George Garrad (Ian McNeice) Garrad has come to measure Ffynnon Garw, the first mountain in Wales. It turns out Ffynnon Garw is not a mountain, which needs to be 1,000 feet, but a 980 foot hill.
This is quite a shock for the local Welsh people whose identity and soul is based on living in the shadow of the first mountain in Wales. The villagers conspire to keep Anson (Hugh Grant) and Garrad in Ffynnon Garw until they fix the problem.
The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain is as the villagers making a mountain out of a hill as it is about the various characters in the Welsh village. The main conflict in this story set in 1917 is between Reverend Jones and innkeeper Morgan the Goat (thus called for he is as randy as one) played by Colm Meaney of Star Trek fame.
Hugh Grant is wonderful in the title role and his original befuddlement and then bemusement at the efforts of the villagers to keep him and his boss in town until the mountain is built and can be remeasured is great to watch.
This is a movie about who you are and where you are. We learn a bit more about each of the major characters as this subtle British comedy progresses until the importance of the mountain becomes clear to all.