Critic Reviews



Based on 20 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
This is a painful movie to watch. But it is also exhilarating, as all good movies are, because we are watching the director and actors venturing beyond any conventional idea of what a modern movie can be about. Here there is no plot, no characters to identify with, no hope.
Mike Leigh's stunning, corrosive Naked is one of the best movies of the year, and one of the toughest... Its manic mix of tenderness and degradation, hilarity and scariness, keeps you dangerously off balance.
even in the notable ranks of Leigh's movie, TV and theater work-an oeuvre embracing high comedy, biting comment and shivering pathos-Naked is extraordinary. In the hands of Leigh and his magnificently gifted, gutsy cast, these days and nights on London's streets burn themselves on our minds.
Naked is a mesmerizing character study, an attempt to stretch the emotional boundaries of truth on film as far as they will go. For once we think we've seen as much of Johnny as we can take, like an etching by Escher we start to see something else, a glimpse of another person easily missed.
Those in search of escapism should not look to this motion picture, but anyone willing to assume the risk of facing the ugliness of Johnny's world will find a startling, gut-wrenching, eye-opening experience.
Leigh’s gallery of haves and have-nots, of emotional anorexics and exploited deadbeats, carries a strong political charge that’s there for the taking. But the pic also plays simply as a black, offbeat comedy with a romantic undertow.
Naked is as corrosive and sometimes as funny as anything Mr. Leigh has done to date. It's loaded with wild flights of absurd rhetoric and encounters with characters so eccentric that they seem to have come directly from life. Nobody would dare imagine them.
This is 90-proof, single-malt stuff. You sip it neat and you don't handle heavy machinery afterward. This movie will stay with you long after you've seen it, thanks to Thewlis's performance, Leigh's direction, Andrew Dickson's haunting bass-and-harp soundtrack, cinematographer Dick Pope's indelible images -- and the unalloyed, naked conviction of it all.
Like Johnny's rants, Naked is a revelation, a parable of spiritual homelessness and the terror it engenders.
The astounding performance of David Thewlis as Johnny is in no small measure responsible for the success of Naked. Talking his way through every scene, his portrait of this drifter is mesmerizingly appealing, hateful, humorous, self-destructive, honest and compelling. Still, I am unable to separate my loathing for this character from my feelings about the formal achievements of this movie. The effect may be one of naked observation but the view is ugly and corrosive.

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