Naked (1993) — Now that we got your attention, don’t bother

“You can’t make an omelet without cracking a few eggs. And humanity is just a cracked egg. And the omelet stinks.”

Lissa’s rating: Not even close to the Doom Generation in disgust factor, but up there in pointlessness.

Lissa’s review: In a Q&A session with the staff, Bladestarr asked “What motivates you to write a review?” Most of us gave some answer involving Justin and images of torture and backbreaking work, but the answer is more complicated than that. Sometimes I write a review because a movie is so wonderful that I think everyone should see it. Sometimes I’ll do it because there’s something specific I want to rant about, and you all are a captive audience, so ha! Sometimes a movie sucks, and it’s just really fun to trash it. And sometimes, I write a review because I can’t get those two hours of my life back, and I need to give them meaning somehow, and getting a review out of it seems to be the best way.

Guess what time this is.

Duckie and I were flipping through On Demand, and we decided to watch Naked because Duckie knows I’m on a bit of a David Thewlis kick. It’s not that I think he’s particularly attractive (although he’s not bad), but… oh, isn’t it obvious? My first experience with David Thewlis was him playing Professor Lupin, who is one of my all-time favorite literary characters, and now I’m curious.

David Thewlis didn’t catch my interest in Harry Potter because he was exactly how I pictured Professor Lupin. In fact, it was the exact opposite. He didn’t come close in matching how I imagined the character physically (except for the brown hair, and I still think Lupin is a lot shorter than 6’4”). He didn’t come across like I thought Lupin should, except in the final scene when he tells Harry he’s leaving and gives Harry the Map back. But I completely bought him as Professor Lupin, and actually conceded he was one of the best casting jobs in the film. And he even made me happy that Ewan McGregor didn’t get the part. (We won’t even go into Jude Law, who never should have even been considered.) This, my friends, is a true testament to Thewlis’s acting abilities. Then we saw Kingdom of Heaven, and I really liked him in that, too. (In fact, his character there was far more how I pictured Lupin, minus the whole armor and religion bits.)

So when we flipped through On Demand and saw that David Thewlis was in Naked, we decided to watch it.

The acting was decent, especially his. That’s about all I can say that’s nice.

Plot summary? You want a plot summary? Here’s the problem… there is no plot. A plot requires a beginning, a middle, and an end. It requires some development. Conflict. Action. A sense of purpose. And although the film is apparently famous for that, I hate it. There was this one guy I hung out with in high school that always believed he was so much deeper than the rest of us (he ended up a drifter who spent time in a cult, but I digress). He would have said the purposelessness of the plot is symbolic and meant to portray the purposelessness of this man’s life, but no. Give me a freaking plot any day. Sheesh.

The characters are completely unlikable. David Thewlis plays Johnny, a drifter who’s fled to London to escape a beating from the family of a girl he’s raped (and yes, the first scene is him raping the girl). That part I think I sort of figured out, but I had to confirm it looking at IMDb. He runs to his ex-girlfriend Louise (Lesley Sharp), who is the one decent person in the movie, and ends up sleeping with her psycho roommate Sophie (Katrin Cartidge), who in addition to simply being a completely annoying clinging vine, doesn’t fully open her mouth to talk. And this is interspersed with the very odd subplot involving Jeremy/Sebastian (Greg Cruttwell), who is even nastier than Johnny but without the dubious charm. And none of it seems to go anywhere or make any sense whatsoever.

In addition, Johnny has these long monologues, some of which make no sense whatsoever. They remind me of that guy from high school I knew, who would spout stuff that DID sound deep, especially when you were in high school, but really was just a lot of pretty words strung together and in essence said life is a miserable, pointless existence and people suck. Thanks. I feel so much better after watching this now.

You know, it’s not that I mind dark movies, or morally bankrupt characters. I really liked Trainspotting, and you saw my raving about Sin City. Yes, there are people in the world that don’t live in nice houses and go to church and do nice things, and they actually make for some pretty good stories. I can get into a story about drug use or homelessness or anything not-so-pure-and-good. But writing about people like this doesn’t automatically make a movie brave or probing or deep or anything. I want some insight into how these people work. We never find out why Johnny is the way he is. We never find out if he’s happy, or if he regrets things he’s done, or if he likes his life the way it is. We really don’t know much more about him at the end of the movie than we did at the beginning. I love tough themes. Give me tough themes. But explore them. Get under my skin. Make me interested. Make me CARE. I spent more of Naked trying to figure out where I knew Lesley Sharp from than I did invested in the characters.

So our verdict (both from me and Duckie) is don’t bother. If you want unlikable characters, rent Trainspotting. If you want something about the depravity of sex, rent Quills. If you want to drool over David Thewlis, go see Kingdom of Heaven (although Duckie saw more of David Thewlis in this than he really wanted to). But don’t bother with Naked. It’s not worth your time.

Dida notice?

  • The thingy hanging from the rear view mirror of the car is very, very annoying?
  • The bar code is a sign of the Apocalypse?
  • Someone fell asleep while directing and/or filming. Sheesh.
  • David Thewlis has very long fingers and feet?
  • The amount of swearing? It’s very hard to find appropriate quotes for this site.
  • The amount of very brutal sex? Seriously, if this sort of thing bothers you, stay away.

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