"My feelings about 'Naked' are as ambivalent as my feelings about our chaotic late 20th-century world... I don't really want to pontificate about this film. I'd rather let it speak for itself." (Director Mike Leigh on "Naked")
- Claire Monk, SIGHT AND SOUND, 11/1993
Cannes 1993 -
Best Actor: David Thewlis
Cannes 1993 -
Best Director: Mike Leigh
New York Times - 10/15/1993
"...A brilliant somersault of a movie that lands this fine English director in dark new cinematic territory..."
Variety - 05/24/1993
"...A strangely moving love story....Anchored by a confident tour de force from Thewlis..."
Entertainment Weekly - 09/23/2005
"With lunatic swagger and gonzo jive, Thewlis explores the dark pits of nocturnal London..." -- Grade: A
A cynical and pessimistic Manchester drifter, Johnny (David Thewlis), arrives in London, afflicting his ex-girlfriend and her flatmate with an unsolicited visit. When he isn't having rough sex with the roommate or pestering the night watchman at a sterile, modern office complex, he berates his ex for her bourgeois urban tendencies. Leigh's portrait of a deteriorating world at the end of the twentieth century is an intense drama, which packs an even greater punch due to Thewlis's stunning performance as the bitter Johnny.
Mike Leigh's NAKED is a violent, penetrating study of an angry young man who lives a dark night of the soul wandering through London's depths, preaching humanity's inevitably approaching demise. After a sexual confrontation--possibly a rape--Johnny (David Thewlis) flees his native Manchester for London, where he hopes to find shelter with his ex-girlfriend Louise (Lesley Sharp). Full of fury and blessed with a caustic wit, he rails futilely at all the societal mechanisms that oppress him, but vents his rage at women in particular. He immediately attacks Louise's bourgeois career aspirations, and pits her against her vulnerable, drugged-out roommate, Sophie (Katrin Cartlidge), in a competition for his affections. When Johnny begins to chafe under Sophie's desperate neediness, he disappears aimlessly into the city, where he meets a variety of social outcasts, including an alcoholic waitress (Gina McKee) and a lonely security guard (Peter Wight). Disgusted with the ever-present savagery of post-modern Britain, Johnny eventually returns to Louise after he is viciously beaten up. There, he encounters Jeremy (Greg Cruttwell), a mirror image of himself in the guise of a modern materialist, who has abused Louise and Sophie in even more humiliating ways. One of the most intense and sardonic films of the 1990s, NAKED features an electrifying performance by Thewlis.
Black Comedy |
Essential Cinema |
Social Issues |
NAKED had its American premiere at The New York Film Festival on October 15, 1993.
"My feelings about NAKED are as ambivalent as my feelings about our chaotic late 20th-century world...I don't really want to pontificate about this film. I'd rather let it speak for itself."--Claire Monk, quoting director Mike Leigh in SIGHT AND SOUND, 11/1993
"I've seen more life in an open grave."--Johnny (David Thewlis), to Louise (Lesley Sharp)
"You see, what I'm sayin' basically is, you can't make an omelette without crackin' a few eggs, and humanity is just a cracked egg--and the omelette...stinks."--Johnny, to Brian (Peter Wight)
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