Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog


Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on July 23, 2011 at 5:52 PM

NAKED   ***1/2

Mike Leigh


IDEA:   An intelligent but violent drifter wanders the seedy streets of London, encountering various characters and letting them in on his very unique diatribes.

BLURB:   Stranded and dispossessed in a life deprived of family or community bonds, the characters in Mike Leigh’s grungy, fiercely unflinching Naked are left to corrode in their own self-destructive paths. None more so than Johnny, a pernicious drifter who actively plays off the depressing reality around him, basking in his own nihilism and mordant sense of superiority. The world is a useless wasteland to him, and he doesn’t mind tearing it down as he goes. As played by David Thewlis in a transfixing performance, Johnny is a fascinating character to study. He does horrible things, chooses to make situations worse than they need to be, and seems to thrive off of his own noxious, harmful offenses. Yet the portrait that is sketched is not one of complete remorselessness, but one that recognizes slivers of humanity in an individual who has otherwise been irreparably damaged. In one scene, a man puts up posters that read “THERAPY?” in large font right next to him. Nobody seems to notice, or care.

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