The magnificent Naked stands out in Mike Leigh’s filmography as his most mercilessly bleak work, an excoriating depiction of British society whose scorched-earth rage is almost entirely at odds with the rest of his work, which tends to couch its social commentary in a gentle form of humour wholly absent here. It is also one of his greatest achievements.
Johnny (David Thewlis in a truly blistering performance that deservedly won multiple awards, including at Cannes) is an extremely intelligent, articulate, very darkly funny, and charming Mancunian who also happens to be a nihilistic, manipulative misogynist fleeing to London after apparently committing rape. Hiding out in the apartment of a former girlfriend, he wanders the streets of London, talking, endlessly talking, in this digital restoration that offers the welcome opportunity to see the film once again.
Contains strong sexual violence and strong language.