Naked ★★★★

An utterly grueling drama that doubles as a tour of the London underworld, NAKED stars a riveting David Thewlis as Johnny, one of the most difficult and unlikeable protagonists in cinematic history (and yet you can't take your eyes off of him).

Johnny, having just sexually assaulted a neighbor, flees Manchester fearing a coming beatdown. He heads to London and hides out with an ex-girlfriend for a while, but for the majority of the running time simply roams the London slums, encountering various other bottom-dwellers. There is no plot really, just a succession of scenes and vignettes that convey the messiness of life, especially a life as disordered and chaotic as Johnny's.

The acting is phenomenal, especially Thewlis (who manages to locate multiple layers in even such a hateful character, one who is clearly using his acid tongue to mask his own considerable pain and instability), but everyone is excellent.

This was the type of film that is definitely easier to appreciate and ponder afterwards than it is to actually watch, although I wouldn't rule out checking it out again someday. But lord, is it bleak.

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