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Mike Leigh Großbritannien, 1993
Naked is far and away Leigh’s bleakest and most brutal film—a character study of a sociopath who wounds people emotionally rather than killing them, yet implicitly reserves his harshest attacks for himself. This is what happens, it says, when the human soul is stripped of its protective layer of civility and compassion.
November 06, 2013
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More than a model for self-empowerment or a cautionary effigy, however, I have recognized the potential of Johnny’s near-fungal lifestyle as a far more potent influence on critical voice. Johnny is, in many ways, a termite critic par excellence… He processes all information with shamanic alarmism, fashioning batshit, species-wide conspiracy theories that are either useful subterfuge or clever self-validation for his incessant anxiety.
July 11, 2011
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Mike Leigh’s improvisational approach to filmmaking… has elicited powerful performances from Thewlis and Cartlidge, who create characters as equally likable as they are pathetic… There is an uncomfortable and exceptionally heartbreaking scene where Sophie, after a forced sexual encounter with an unwanted guest, lies in fetal position, visibly convulsing on the floor. Naked is Mike Leigh’s devastating, caustic vision of life without roots, hope… or heart.
January 01, 1998
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Mike Leigh’s virtuosity as a writer-director and the raw theatrical power of David Thewlis, his lead actor, combine with the sheer unpleasantness of much of Naked to make it a disturbingly ambiguous experience… Sorting out the intelligence from the hysteria is no easy matter, and the picture rubs our noses in this uncertainty so remorselessly that we sometimes forget that what we’re watching is largely a comedy.
February 25, 1994
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This is a brilliant, radical work from Leigh, who’s delivered quite radical works in the past. It’s also so abrasive that some viewers are likely to be revolted. If Fine Line seems brave to be bringing out such a film during this jolly holiday season, it strikes me as a perfectly religious offering. O come all ye faithful, Naked is joyful and triumphant.
December 21, 1993