The brilliant and controversial Naked, from director Mike Leigh, stars David Thewlis as Johnny, a charming and eloquent but relentlessly vicious drifter. Rejecting anyone who might care for him, the volcanic Johnny hurls himself around London on a nocturnal odyssey, colliding with a succession of other desperate and dispossessed people and scorching everyone in his path. With a virtuoso script and raw performances from Thewlis and costars Katrin Cartlidge and Lesley Sharp, Leigh’s depiction of England’s underbelly is an amalgam of black comedy and doomsday prophecy that took the best director and best actor prizes at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. —The Criterion Collection
One of contemporary Britain’s most renowned directors, Mike Leigh is known for his depictions of the dramas inherent in the everyday lives of regular people. Often compared to compatriot Ken Loach for his emphasis on “slice-of-life” realism (a comparison Leigh has deemed inaccurate, as his films, unlike Loach’s, have no absolute political agenda), Leigh makes films remarkable for their level-headed, unsensational portrayals of topics that would become four-hankie “message” melodramas in the hands of most Hollywood directors.
Born February 20, 1943, in Salford, Manchester, Leigh originally wanted to go into acting. While training at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, however, he found himself drawn toward directing and writing, and he eventually transferred to the London Film School. He began his career on the stage, with two of his most important works, The Box Play and Bleak Moments, brought to life through collaborative experimentation during rehearsals. The latter play… read more
Though it's not a favorite, you know immediately Leigh has guts. At first glance, the film seems full of pretension--too much intellect, too many dry ideas and words. As the film progresses, you realize that's exactly the point (at least for me it was): behind all of Johnny's words and affectations, you see the mind start to break down. The emotions start to burst from the seams he's kept so tightly bound with talk.
CC#307: Where Leigh depicts life as a vicious cycle of survival and despair. While Naked appears to be the director at his most lugubrious, what with its deadbeat weltanschauung, grimy schadenfreude and heightened social realism (somewhere between Greenaway, Lynch & Kundera), its lurid subversion of kitchen sink is what creepily elevates its portrait, spearheaded by Thewlis’ eloquent, explosive drifter, its pithily corrosive exchanges (think After Hours meets My Dinner with Andre) and muted pockets of humanity. An unexpectedly heady brew.
The Observer Film Magazine poll that gives us a list of the "best British films" of the last 25 years can only be described as informal
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… read review
Throughout the course of the film we follow Johnny on his travels through life and through future. David Thewlis’ highly praised performance as the protagonist is undoubtely the finest performance… read review
the reason of why i rented this film in the first place was because the name of mike leigh was on the cover. and what do i get from this mike leigh’s film? a magnificent and powerful journey from start… read review