From the Criterion collection comes a highly recommended British film of the 90s. This is my first Mike Leigh's film and too stark and artsy ones to start with. But it was worth every 130 minutes of it.There's no real plot actually. Mostly everything was improvised. An intelligent, knowledgeable and an eloquent -- yet suffering from occasional bouts of mental depression and derangement -- man named Johnny rapes a woman in Manchester and to avoid a beating from her parents flees to London in a stolen car. There he meets his girlfriend Sophie and her flatmate Louise. While Sophie is not as beautiful or curvaceous as her flatmate is, she is a full-time employed person, and Louise remains at home, or is quite possibly a prostitute, judging by the type of clothes she wears. Johnny, as a man of profound knowledge and wit successfully seduces Louise and they consummate eventually, during which time we see a masochist side of Johnny -- pulling her hair, twisting her arm, etc -- perhaps his untreated derangement. Meanwhile, in some other part of London an attractive yet sexually frustrated yuppie, Jeremy, is seen chasing any female he gets an opportunity to talk with and making immediate sexual advances at them. He, too, turns out to be kinky.Johnny, mentally disturbed as he is, leaves the cozy confine of her girlfriend's apartment in cold December evening in pursuit of yet another sexual escapade(s). On his way out he meets a lot of atypical characters: a manner-less, eccentric Scot searching frantically for his girlfriend; a middle-aged man working for a security agency who is as philosophical and as lonely as Johnny is; an Irish woman who dances in her flat's bedroom without pulling the curtains on in her window, quite possibly to attract the attention of "peeping toms"; an attractive girl working in a diner, who had an uglier past of her own. Since the film, with duration of just over two hours, is rather slow, what the director and the co-scriptwriter, David Thewlis, who also portrayed Johnny in the film, should be given the credit for is the subtle humour and the witty, improvised dialogues and mannerisms that the main characters incorporated throughout much of the stark atmosphere in the movie. It could also be considered as a social commentary over the British people and their relationship conundrums. Mike Leigh is generally regarded for his films laced with social realism; Naked is perhaps one of his best in that regard, though I cannot be too sure of that. 8/10

Like it on Facebook, Tweet it or share this article on other bookmarking websites.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet