Less an adaptation than an imp/expressionist response to the experience of reading Burroughs, this movie barely bothers to suss out its themes (besides some nods to addiction and metamorphosis)...the savage, scattershot, unflinching satire (still relevant,alas) of the book is glossed for a Cronenberg attempt at gross out, so, body horror AGAIN, but this time without much of the supplemental psychological terror.3.5*
"I hear Interzone's really nice this time of year." I don't know the source material, but I love this film. The mugwumps are great characters! Cronenberg's body-dysmorphia fetish gets to shake its little tailfeather here. I like the queerness in the story. I want an Arabic typewriter.
I feel like this was false advertising. I was expecting naked ladies. Instead it's all weird. Love me some Peter Weller. I have watched some bad movies that had him. He seems enigmatic. Since you can't really film 'Naked Lunch', this is a pretty good substitute.
Should this be called Naked Lunch when it only minimally covers the source material? Sloppy and not daring enough when compared with the book! Hilarious when white actors mumble through Arabic words as Peter Weller mumbles passages from the book. A filmmaker should recreate these passages and not just simply recite them! Final comment: Read The Book!
Truly a spot-on 'bio-pic' of Burroughs. Infusing the novel with Burroughs’ life itself is the real grab here. It should click around the time Hank and Martin pick up a bag of typewriter parts only to see drug paraphernalia in it that Cronenberg really means business. This is a brilliant adaptation from a filmmaker at the peak of his abilities, and with only a modicum of praise it is still considerably underrated.
Cronenberg's esoteric realisation of Burroughs' whirlwind of literary ideas, remains a morbidly curious treat for the subversive spectator. To label it Kafkaesque or allude to Lynch's latter-made 'Eraserhead' would be reductive. Admittedly, there may be parallels, but there is something singular about William's work.
More than a film about hallucinations, is a film that hallucinates, incorporating in its filmic matter the forms of unreality, that, by a magic trick- in a film that uses the studio like the two versions of "The Thief of Bagdad"- is transmuted into a hyperrealism of the senses. Writing is an act that follows the sacrifice and mingles with the loss, while shooting is the figurative fulfillment of this "petite morte".