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on 27 December 2003
"Don't waste your life" A security guard advises the nihilistic anti hero Johnny. This film is macabre, raw, and with dialogue as sharp as anything ever witnessed on celluloid. Mike leigh created a dark brooding magnum opus with this portrait of early 90's london. His partnership with David Thewlis, who creates a fascinating and ribald character is simply astonishing. It is a performance that explores our very humanity. This film investigates the existential angst as portrayed by the protagonist Johnny of what is to survive, the main character literally reveals himself before us stripped of pretense and standing "naked" . Johnny's diatribes tinged with apocalyptic tones upon the nature of the universe and beyond are breath taking. Sex and violence under pin the narrative of this film, and with Jonny adhering to no personal boundaries he embarks upon a journey that takes the viewer upon an uneasy and ultimately rewarding journey . This film is important as it show the true power of the medium , and as a cultural reference to the pap produced by hollywood, exposing the neutered offerings mainstream cinema is plagued with. This film shows Mike Leigh as a master of his art, expressed by the unique performances he elicits from his cast. This work of art will be stumbled across in years to come and will be celebrated by later generations for its language, its mood, and its effect which makes us engage. A true testament to a magnificent achievement.
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Naked is written and directed by Mike Leigh. It stars David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Greg Cruttwell, Claire Skinner, Peter Wright, Ewen Bremner and Gina McKee. Music is by Andrew Dickinson and cinematography by Dick Pope.

Johnny (Thewlis) is an unemployed wastrel who has to flee Manchester after indulging in his sexually violent proclivities. Heading for London to seek out an old girlfriend, Johnny encounters a number of people more hapless and lost than he is.

Proles, Plebs and Potheads.

Mike Leigh's brutal and raw character study remains as potent today as it was on release in post Thatcher Britain. Sometimes coined as a film for masochists or misogynists, Naked is actually for neither. For sure it isn't setting out to cheer you up, it's relentlessly restless and intense, it doesn't cut corners or operate under a banner of political convenience. Yet it does have intelligent depth to the point where the deeper you dig the more troubling Leigh's observations become. This allows Leigh and his brilliant cast to leave indelible images, to bring out themes that simply refuse to leave the conscious, where the observation of a society filled with sad, lonely and desperate people provides the discomfort of the human form stripped, well, naked.

Ever seen a dead body?

Only my own...

Johnny is an intellectual, an intelligent man, even charming, he can chat freely on the world and man's existence in it. But he has unhealthy appetites and a knack for latching onto emotional discord. Posit this with a backdrop of dirty streets, cheap cafes and grungey flats, and there's a starkness about the narrative that scars the soul, aided considerably by Dickinson's edgy violin based score and Pope's stripped back colour photography. A concurrent character study with that of Johnny is that of Jeremy/Sebastian (Cruttwell), the definition of Yuppiedom gone wrong, the devil with a filofax who is both cruel and predatory, he's the polar opposite of scruffy Johnny, but both represent a London that's far from the bright lights and big city so many hopeless dreamers set off in search of.

A sick boy in search of Booze, Beans and a Bath.

The Jeremy/Sebastian axis feels very much like satire, this also is something that makes Naked so strong, it is quite often funny. True, the humour here is clinical and comes in spiked barbs, but there are laughs to be had here, the kind that deftly dovetail with a pervading sense of bleakness, finding wit in the most unlikely of places. What is Leigh trying to say in all this? As usual he isn't offering up solutions to his questions, he demands you observe and respond, while he asks his actors to take the material and respond in kind, which they do, led by a quite extraordinary performance by Thewlis. Cannes agreed, awarding Thewlis with the Best Actor Award whilst also bestowing Leigh with the Best Director Award. Both were richly deserved.

Never gratuitous, Naked is a sensitive and thoughtful film, yes it's tough to witness at times, it's meant to be, but this is a searing masterpiece that demands to be seen more than once. 10/10
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I watched this film because I always enjoy David Thewlis' performances - and I was surprised that this Mike Leigh film had passed me by. It focuses on the lives of two men, two men who are in many ways hideous examples of masculinity (abusing women in various ways) though the middle class Jeremy (Greg Cruttwell) is a psychopath with no likable traits, whereas Johnny (Thewlis) is a tormented tormentor - a vagabond with intellect. One man feels very much part of a doomed humanity. The other hates it and enjoys controlling it through cruelty and violence.

This isn't a particularly structured film - more a series of moments which don't necessarily contribute to a plot, but instead open up the characters. Thewlis steals the show with what must be one of the greatest screen performances ever, as he mingles with the guts of society. Every comment he utters is laced with either wit, vitriol, or the musings of a man who seems to enjoy the world when it's ugly. Imagine a homeless, bitter Oscar Wilde and it's not a million miles away from Johnny.

It's difficult to describe this film - there's so much going on without there being much ...well, going on! You get to see the fragility of relationships and nobody seems to benefit, certainly not the people you want to see come out on top.

In a nutshell: A dark film where lives are turned upside down. When the credits roll you don't really know if the characters will ever get a happy ending or the justice they deserve. This film is worth watching purely on the strength of David Thewlis alone. Without him this would be a three star film for me. His lamented genius is mesmerising to watch as he walks around philosophising, like an anti-Jesus preaching the gospel of not looking on the bright side.
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on 1 February 2008
Absolutely brilliant, a gem of a film. Only watched this film once, around the time it came out and i can remember almost every bit of it. David Thewlis has never been better (and thats saying something), his charector is wildly eccentric, manically intelligent and yet he is a dark lost soul aimlessly wondering the streets of London. Ewan Bremner is also great playing a twitchy young lad searching for his girlfriend. But it has to be seen to be believed...
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on 16 August 2012
Every town has a Johhny - an angry, arrogant, street philosopher who questions the validity and meaning of conventions and society. He is an outsider who is also a parasite. Although he questions everything he has no solutions. He is dangerous but interesting and a bit pathetic. Wrap all this bitter, twisted, tortured emotion up inside the excellent David Thewlis and we have a riveting cinematic experience.
Johnny is stripped naked of politeness and convention, money, belongings or even a place to live. He is a hard character to pin down and shouldn't be. He is a bastard and a rogue but I think I like him. He is more than a little bit angry and I wont even go into his attitudes towards women and why women seem to like him or want to save him - you could write a thesis on that.
It's interesting to see Claire Skinner (from Outnumbered) here - she is also in that other Mike Leigh masterpiece Life Is Sweet [DVD]
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on 17 May 2014
With persistent put-downs and sarcastic wit, David Thewlis (Jonny) wheedles his way into peoples lives sucking the life-blood out of them.Not literally, as this is not a horror film but it is a monster movie,and Thewlis is the monster,a dark foreboding philosophizer decreeing mans fate.
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on 26 June 2013
I did enjoy the film as I love anything by Mike Leigh. My favourites are Abigail's Party and Secrets and Lies. Shame the latter and Nuts in May is not available for an affordable price on Amazon. Either too expensive or not available in region 2 format. Naked was a tad too long for my liking. But I liked it all the same.
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on 5 February 2014
This film was truly a British affair, it was so realistic in its approach to realism, I was looking to purchase this film on DVD for a long while now and came across this by accident.
What a fabulously written gritty film, full of clever one liners, it was most entertaining and shocking!
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on 9 March 2000
One mans journey into the unknown following a violent assault on a woman we are introduced to londons desolute and disenfranchised.Through the powerful characters in this dark,morbid and also very funny film we are given a horrific portrait of modern britain and a existential universe.
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on 10 October 2012
Please note, this review is for the UK release of Naked [DVD] [1993], and NOT the Criterion version as it states in the description.

The film itself is one of my all time favourites, and certainly the best British film of the 90s.

However, as usual, it's been a long, long time since it got a UK release, and came out on Criterion in the US YEARS ago (pretty strange, as it's a British film).

All we get is an audio commentary, trailers, subtitles, and an absolutely awful DVD transfer. I've noticed this with a lot of DVD's I've been purchasing lately (Hair Extensions, Sick Nurses, and a few others).

It looks almost like it's been downloaded.

I guess one of the main reasons DVD's are so cheap these days, is not just because of Blu Ray coming out and trying to take over, but because the companies who release them really don't make the effort anymore regarding the transfers. I popped in an old DVD and it's amazing just how much better the image quality was. This is almost a pound shop job on an all time classic.

Film- 5 *****

Release- 2 **

Guess I'll have to save up more for the Criterion version.
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