Naked Blu-ray review

  Mike Leigh’s Naked shows its characters exactly as such. This is not to say that they are nude throughout the film, though there is certainly some careless sexual behavior throughout the film. They are naked because throughout the dialogue driven film, there are moments in which the characters completely expose themselves through words. They are emotionally and intellectually stripping in front of the person they are talking to, and often they seem too involved in their explicit honesty to even notice the person listening.

            The film follows the brazen misadventures of Johnny (David Thewlis), a drifter with no shortage of theories and opinions. He has the ability to be charming and endearing at moments, though this quickly passes with the shocking behavior that follows. Inexplicably cruel and endlessly bored with the people around him, Johnny is a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts, inspiring all kinds of volatile reactions in the people he encounters throughout the streets on London.

            Everything from sex to God finds its way into the conversations that Johnny has along the way on his evening adventure around the city. Leigh shows us the underbelly of England in both the locations that Johnny finds himself in, along with his rancid behavior and cynical view of his country. It was a stark social commentary paired with a dark comedy, and it is no surprise that filmmaker Neil LaBute was so inspired by this picture. LaBute gives an interview praising the film in the special features. Johnny manipulative use of his sexuality and the cruel battle of the sexes which emerges because of it can clearly be seen in many of LaBute’s early films.

            The Naked Blu-ray comes with a new restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by Leigh. Leigh also gives an audio commentary for the film, along with Thewlis and co-star Katrin Cartlidge. There is also an episode of the BBC program The Art Zone in which Leigh is interviewed and discusses this film, along with a 1987 short film by Leigh and starring Thewlis. The insert booklet features essays by film critics Derek Malcolm and Amy Taubin, along with production photography.


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