Top positive review
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Disturbing, memorable and brilliant
on 24 May 2015
Even by the standard set by William Burroughs' novel of the same name, 'Naked Lunch' is pretty crazy.
Blurring the line between reality and drug-induced madness, Peter Weller stars as Bill Lee, who goes from using cockroach powder as a drug and taking orders from a giant bug who wants him to kill his wife, the movie does a damn good job of capturing the atmosphere of fear and paranoia that Burroughs communicated.
Fleeing to Morocco, he takes orders from his typewriter and a 'mugwump', writing reports for his handler and thinking himself a secret agent under the influence of the 'black meat' and roaming around the Tangiers sampling the local drugs and gay scene.
It's every bit as dark as the book and Weller's deadpan delivery is perfectly suited to the crazy poetic passages taken more or less directly from it, like the man who teaches his backside to talk. Weller as Lee, and Ian Holm as the expat writer, Frost, show the struggles of writing a novel as undergone by Burroughs, arguing the merits of different typewriters and the virtues of the local drugs, and how these improve the final published work.
Both the visuals and the dialogue will make a big and lasting impression-it's Kafkaesque, haunting and crazy, though compelling throughout.