The Trip is a redacted version of a BBC television series that screened in late 2010, and describes a week-long road trip taken by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. However, not only does it feel like a completely independent film, but the cinematic presentation - or at least the awareness of a transition from television to cinema - works better for the panoramic north English landscapes, and textures Coogan's melancholy musings on the relative merits of television and cinema, and his inability to completely break into the latter. For the most part, Winterbottom draws on Coogan and Brydon's background in celebrity crypsis to present them as two charismatic voices, gradually abstracted and elasticised beyond any of their astonishing impersonations, into a startling, prosopopoeic fluidity: "Two-thirds of the way through that, you were thinking of doing Anthony Hopkins, weren't you? I heard it in your voice." It's as if the credit sequence in Tristram Shandy were expanded into an entire film, in which Coogan and Brydon's voices gradually fuse into a third, more abstracted voice, as evinced in Coogan's impersonation of Coogan, and the movement towards impersonating inanimate objects, most memorably a submarine sonar. Not only does this absorption of character into voice prevent the frequent invocations of Coleridge and Wordsworth ever feeling contrived or pretentious - they're just another pair of voices, like Kate Bush and Heathcliff - but it restores their poetry as a spoken medium, producing the lyrical sublimity of the latter part of the film, and a delightful take on the Romantic project of abstracting the voice of the common man, the babbling of nature. It also prevents Coogan's search for an original voice ever feeling particularly indulgent, as well as making Winterbottom's ekphrastic, photographic montage sequences feel more spoken than directed, as Coogan trudges through them in search of mobile phone reception. Even the pretext for the trip - a tour of the most critically acclaimed restaurants of north England - never feels precious, just because of how exquisitely Coogan and Brydon adopt and manipulate the whole theatrics and gravitas of the restaurant experience, in a culinary comedy of manners that's less about talking at cross-purposes than through a breathful of mouthfeel; a quizzical sampling of chocolate quotation-marks.