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Naked [1993] [DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CCH8DS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 192,759 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: DVD
Naked hit me like a sledgehammer when I first saw it. Unmatched in intensity, it examines several lives in different degrees of detail with one thing in common. They are all alone - even the girls who share the flat and the rich City boy with his girlfriends and conquests. Johnny links them together - his interactions with them, at times gentle, at times vicious and vile. We see, through excellence of acting and writing which is taut but often exuberant, how the morass of London isolates as often as it brings together.

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.
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Format: DVD
Someone I know once called this the "Most depressing film I have ever seen ". He obviously hadn't seen "Mad Cows" or "Pearl Harbour" for while Naked is without doubt ,a bleak, sordid trawl through Britain's or more appositely London's underbelly it is shot through with caustic humour , odd moments of baffling empathy and is disturbingly compulsive .
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.
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Leigh's masterpiece, without a doubt. The anti-hero, Johnny, is a brilliant nihilist, in a blistering performance by David Thewlis in which he more than equals Travis Bickle's misanthropic provocateur as he slopes from sick Salford to London's mean streets, a man himself made mean; who knows what ills, what suffering, has made this extraordinary character. Men, women and everyone get the edge of the man's roiling, bitter tongue as he destroys the illusions of all he meets. He has scorn for all authority, the loathing of an autodidact almost yearning to meet someone his equal, who will resist his life-sapping tirades. Yet this is a film of such verbal brilliance and dingy, depressing life that somehow it doesn't depress. And it never lets up just as Johnny only knows full-throttle. It's not at all the Leigh of middle-class condescension, far from it. Does Leigh hate his man? No. His liveliness somehow enshrines the very scabrousness that he embodies, oddly. He's a cut-price Nietzsche on speed; he somehow transcends his own nullity, so fierce is his personality, so unremittingly alive. He remains unredeemed, yet like Baudelaire in his very nastiness there's just a hint of its opposite. I believe T.S. Eliot thought something of the same about Baudelaire; Flowers of Evil here as in the French poet's words somehow suggest a sort of redemption. Perhaps not for him though. Nice cameo from Ewen Bremner as a drunk in a spat in a short scene in a grimy London street with a girl, a Johnny without the words or the tenacity; Lesley Sharpe dependably excellent as his ill-treated 'girl', Gina McKee, Claire Skinner and the rest of a superb cast all combine to make this a truly great film; sui generis, certainly Leigh has made nothing else like it since, nor has anyone else. 'Nil By Mouth' with philosophy and verbal rather than physical violence; no praise higher.
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