1993 movie

Rating: 18/20

Plot: There isn't really much of one. A not-so-great-guy named Johnny flees Manchester after sort-of sexually assaulting a woman. He arrives in London at the flat of his ex-girlfriend Louise, and when she's not home, he charms the pants off her roommate. Literally. He gets bored with that, leaves, and stalks the darkness of London's fringes, meeting and verbally abusing lost souls along the way.

David Thewlis's performance in Naked is unforgettable, an anti-hero lost in a dark purgatory. He's witty, hilarious, and irritably likable despite being about the most dishonorable fellow you could ever meet on celluloid. You almost want to taste every single word he spits at the other characters in this movie, and when he's not on the screen, you miss him. In a way, he's like a tour guide, taking your hand and leading you on a trip through the blackest despair and this sort of pre-apocalyptic malaise. He smells bad, and you know deep down that he doesn't really know what the heck he's talking about. He's as lost as the lost souls he's pointing out and mocking on the tour. You decide that if this was real life, if Johnny lived in your neighborhood, you wouldn't associate with him at all. You'd feel sorry for him in a way, but you wouldn't really like his rawness, his honesty, or his mustache. Naked is about the blackest movie I've ever seen. It's comedic, blackly. Most of the scenes are at night, and the cinematographer stuffs the screen with the blackest kind of darkness. The souls of the characters are scorched, their blackened edges rustling in a laughing nocturnal breeze. It's a brooding sort of movie with scenes that harden in you, stuff you can't shake even while new scenes unfold. Love the performances (the lone exception maybe being Greg Cruttwell as a foil to Johnny), love the score (mostly harp), love the atmosphere, and love the bleakness. But really, this movie's all about Thewlis's performance, easily one of my favorite of all time. Naked's got a lot of ridges, and although it might not be easy to fully grasp initially, it's impossible not to come away with a little something. It definitely says whatever the hell it's saying very powerfully and lingers far after the last quiverings of those harp strings.

Shane-movies trivia: I watched this movie fully clothed.


l@rstonovich said...

I saw this a long long time ago and remember wondering what all the fuss was about. I need to see it again.

cory said...

I saw this a few years ago, and I didn't care much for it. Johnny is a complete ass and he aggressively spews dialogue that I never really bought. It may be partly a case of my being disappointed after seeing a few very good reviews, but even though I saw this just three or four years ago, I remember very little except a strong sense of revulsion for the lead. In the same way that I love "Talk Radio", this may be a case where a character and story that hits you just right may be distastful to someone else. A 12.

Shane said...

How long ago, Larst? Not back in '93, right?

Revulsion...yeah, I can definitely see that. The thing I admire about Johnny is that he doesn't hide anything. It makes him, in a way, heroic. I don't really buy his dialogue either. He's too clever. It's like buying Shakespeare characters as real people. But you're absolutely right--if you can't stand Johnny (which you're really not supposed to), I can see this as being one long and excruciating experience. For whatever reasons, I enjoy his vitriol and misanthropy, probably because I'm a bastard myself.

This is definitely in that category of movies that I like but can imagine a lot of people hating. That's not where 'Team America: World Police' is though. I'm bewildered that nobody agrees with me about that.

l@rstonovich said...

Totally back in '93. Old School! I remember watching it after my parents went to sleep on break from college.