As much as I can appreciate the extraordinary effects (typewriters turning into cockroaches with a speaking pink anus), this lack of narrative makes "Naked Lunch" a decidedly tough watch that drags on for long 115 minutes. What can be gathered plot-wise: The unsuccessful writer Bill Lee works in NYC as an exterminator. His wife gets addicted to the bug powder he uses in his job and when he tries it too, his writer- libido awakens: typewriters transform into living organisms that guide the creative process. After Bill Lee accidentally kills his wife on a drug trip, he is made to flee to North Africa, to a place called the Interzone that defies reality and rationality . Everything beyond that should not be included in the summary – it is as confusing and mind-boggling as it gets, supposedly based on the thoughts of a drug-addled brain.
Some may call "Naked Lunch" the apex of creativity as the movie seems to mirror the process of writing a novel. A few elements can be discerned: the drug abuse as a starting point to get some ideas, the ideas gain authenticity and the writer plunges into an alternative reality where typewriters dictate him what to do and he becomes entangled in intrigues and homoerotic passions .
The imagery is highly evocative of events and themes that coined the life of famous US author William S. Burroughs whose novel "Naked Lunch" inspired David Cronenberg to do this. Burroughs actually killed his wife in Mexico-City in a Wilhelm Tell-inspired act of madness and intoxication. Burroughs, who for a huge chunk of his lifetime was fleeing prosecution in several countries, in fact settled down in Tangier, Morocco for a couple of years to enjoy drugs and young men under the blazing African sun. He went on to live in Paris and London until he settled down in Kansas, while being most of his life busy getting on and off heroin.
Now if there is a biography worth making into a movie, it's his. There are numerous facets that are utterly intriguing about this artist such as his differing sexual preferences, his lifelong battle with the law, his massive drug addiction and his attempts to become clean, his friendships with other glaring Beat Generation authors such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg etc Personally, I found this movie largely unapproachable and boring. If you have a working narrative, then you can include almost as many drug bouts as you want. But this is clearly not the case here .