Naked ★★★★½

While Naked doesn’t reach the grotesque levels of a film like Hard to be a God, Leigh’s portrait of humanity and the human condition is just as morbid, grim, and honest as any film I’ve seen. 

The setting is perhaps the most important part of Naked. Johnny felling to London from Manchester has a big reason, but that reason is fairy irrelevant throughout the film. However, the setting of a big city like London really puts Leigh’s criticism of human relationships and interactions into perspective. While Johnny is going from house to house and person to person, he is attempting to find a tangible moment to grasp. This is more of a postmodern issue, in that the alienation of industrial and contemporary society feels like four walls slowing closing in. Everything is cheap, boring, and mediocre. 

That idea of societies wasteful vanity, resonates more with me now with Instagram and Twitter. In the 1990’s it’s more about being a slave to a job and the overarching hierarchy of social standards. But to watch this in 2018 is just fucking scary. People now construct their own realities with social media, presenting the individual they think will get the most likes. Really makes this scene a whole new experience in 2018. 

David Thewlis gives a rare performance. Of course he benefits from Leigh’s sharp, snappy, and smart dialogue, but Thewlis’ nuances in facial and body expression take his role to an almost otherworldly realm. Those small complexities allowed me to sink into his characters loneliness and frustrations entirely. I’m quite shocked at how little praise I’ve heard about this rather remarkable performance. Lesley Sharp is also fantastic. 

For my first Leigh, this was a fantastic start and hope to experience more of his filmography soon!

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