Samarth Solanki’s review published on Letterboxd:
Naked (1993) by Mike Leigh
"Have you ever thought, right... I mean, you don't know...but you might already have had the happiest moment in your whole fucking life...and all you've got to look forward to is sickness and purgatory?"
Naked is probably one of the most fitting titles a movie has ever had. Mike Leigh strips bare every single part of human consciousness and puts it on display without a single string of hesitation. Johnny has a past that is worth wondering about. Something that has broken off his touch with hope and the point of existence. He wanders around the haunting London, who itself acts as a raconteur. London plays a very subtle yet prominent role in moving the story forward. Here the city itself is a character much like New York was in Taxi Driver. Johnny lives his odyssey in an attempt to convince people of his ideology, which although most listen to quite carefully, a few would actually want to believe.
The protagonist of the film, Johnny is a misanthrope or atleast he seems like it in most of the film. The story strips bare him and his character in ways that even he himself fails to realize. Johnny lives in his own pile of garbage but the other main characters too are surrounded by their own piles. Their piles rarely connect. Almost everyone seems to be falling down an abyss. The only "normal" person in the film is Sandra, who herself is on the verge of falling down the neverending chasm.
Naked is a character study of Johnny. We along with Leigh are solving the puzzle of Johnny. He seems to be a nihilist, a misanthrope. He often vents out his anger derived from sense of hopelessness on others and most prominently women. But as the story moves forward we see different side of him. A side that doesn't seem to care about the apocalypse or the hopelessness or the struting of the humanity into the deep void. That side is a rare glimpse that offers a twist in his ways. To further deliver the point, the character of Jeremy is entered. A well to do person, who you would think lives a happy life, but actually is a psychopath who delivers his own rage through acts of violence.
In the end, we part our ways with Leigh in a unsatisfying manner. We never get to know our protagonist. All we get to know are the different atoms that make him. We never actually meet Johnny although we get to know him better than he knows himself. A victory here.
Watch This Gem Before You Die.