Tuesday, May 18

Review: Naked

What do you get when you combine Fight Club, Blue Velvet, Trainspotting and American Psycho? Okay, the most depraved sex scene ever put on tape, but you would also get Naked. The film is made in 1993 and hot damn, does it show. If Kurt Cobain had seen this movie, he would have written songs about it. But if you are willing to embrace all the bleakness and weird dialogue, you will be welcomed by a truly amazing movie.

Naked follows the wandering of Johnny (a brilliant role by David Thewlis). He is pretty much the archetype of Generation X: eloquent, but bitter. Charismatic, but rather sadistic. A complete asshole, who nevertheless seems to be a good person at his core. He wanders through the urban jungle that is modern London, like some sort of Aragorn of the modern generation. There isn't much of a story to speak off: Johnny just does stuff, seemingly without any purpose. He messes up the live of his ex-girlfriend, at whose house (and life) he keeps showing up. He talks about the meaningless of life and the coming apocalypse with random strangers. And then there is his ex's landlord, a sadistic and emotionless yuppie who is just one blow on the head away from full-on Patrick Bateman-crazy.

This is Patrick Bateman. Notice the impeccable suit. Also, see his movie. It is criminally underrated.

All the dialogue was created by the actors themselves, by getting into their roles really well and improvising. The best bits were written down and preformed. And since there is not one writer at work, but so many, the dialogue is unlike anything I've ever heard in a movie. Even though it's mostly about nothing at all, it's a bliss to listen to. The scene were Johnny explains to a security guard his theory on the end of mankind, while you only see their silhouettes, is especially stunning.

I'm not really sure how to interpret this film, however. You could see it as a clash of generations between Johnny's Generation X-mentality and the crazed yup, the latter being definitely the least sympathetic of the two assholes.
It can also be seen as a movie of the times. In that case, the comparison with Trainspotting rings even more true. But everything that makes that movie fun to watch, such as the cool music, clothes and jokes is absent from this one. Only the bleakness of life in the 90's remains. Which is enough in it's own right.

But maybe the truth lies in the characters, and in particular in Johnny. No matter how cruel the world treats him, or how cruel he treats it, he always comes back to it. At the finale of the movie he has the chance to get home, get a life and disappear. But he choses to get back. Still limping from the beating he got earlier on, he slowly walks back into the city. Without remorse for himself or anyone. Constantly trying to get his message of loneliness and despair across. Like a true hero of the times. And while maybe Johnny isn't the kind of hero the world needs, he is definitely the kind of hero the world deserved.

This is what Batman would look like if he had no money and read too much Nietzsche


British, bleak, atmospheric... Could I have picked anything other then Joy Division?


  1. Well, still taking part of the credit for your joy about this movie :P Your review made me understand it a bit more though, so thanks for that. I think I should watch Trainspotting (well, have to watch it anyway..) after reading this, sounds like a great movie.
    Totally agree with you on the music choice! Don't know the band, I honestly think it's not my taste. But anyways, it fits the feeling of the movie ;)
    And well, we all love watching Naked ;)

  2. Btw, check the credit I just had to give you ;)