Learn more about this title's writer and director in as we put Mike Leigh In the Director's Chair...
Naked  [DVD]
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This is a true London film, made up mostly of non-Londonders. It shines a light onto people living in the early 90s, recession-hit, post-Thatcher period. It is a political film, polemical and angry. Johnny is seemingly full of wonder at the world, railing against the 'me, now' generation, and yet deeply cynical about the purpose of existence.
Mike Leigh was accused of being misanthropic with Naked, focusing on the worst of human nature. But you can take from it what you want - in some people's lives there is little or no redemption, but there are moments. Moments of joy, kindness, laughter - even among the despair. You can take the great lines, the arguments, the speeches, the quotations. Take the fact that your life might have gone down the route of many of those people, but didn't. If it sounds like I treated this film like a religious experience, for many years I did. It is beautiful and powerful, rich and epic in its themes. I've never seen another film that spoke more to me about people.
Naked is ,to give it a slightly pseudo sarky synopsis in thrall to its nihilistic anti-hero , an Oddysey for the nineties ( it was released in 1993)as Johnny (David Thewlis)flees his native Manchester for London to escape the beating surely coming his way after raping a girl in an alleyway. Johnny isn't a very nice person, He's misogynistic (Indeed the whole film has been accused of misogyny , overlooking the fact that the films moral centre is female), cruel , calculating and mendacious .However he is also laceratingly witty , and fiercely intelligent so that despite his objectionable behavoiur his painful self awareness and razor sharp mind win you over.
Once in London Johnny tracks down ex-girlfriend Louise (Lesley Sharp) who is sharing a flat with neurotic Lesley (Karin Cartlidge) .Johnny , quick to spot vulnerability seduces Lesley .The flats landlord Jeremy (Greg Cruttwell) , is the films one character drawn in broad strokes A virulently obnoxious product of Thatcher's policies and world view he is a snorting stalking oil slick of a man , happy to accept sexual favours in lieu of rent and dispensing crass one liners like the repulsive off spring of Alan Bastard and Bernard Manning .
Johnny wishing to escape the clutches of the over bearing Lesley goes an fascinating tour of the capitols seamy back streets interacting with the characters he randomly bumps into.Read more ›
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