Naked Lunch

"Terrible"

Naked Lunch Review


Quick, off the top of your head, tell me all you know about this movie.

If you recalled fondly the line that Nelson said in an episode of The Simpsons after Bart uses a fake ID to get into this film ("I'll tell you two things wrong with that title"), then you're like most of America. I knew a little bit more coming in: that it was based on a novel by William S. Burroughs that is the quintessence of non-linear narrative and that it was directed by David Cronenberg.

On the way out, I know precious little more.

Naked Lunch is one of those films that is so mind-blowing that it is baffling. So intelligent that it feels idiotic, and so strange that you wonder if you took something beforehand and forgot about it. Yet it was one of those movies critics loved.

Screw 'em.

In the movie Contact, James Woods asks "Why is it always the opinion of the egghead set that aliens are friendly?" Although the answer Jodie Foster gave back was sufficient, it should have been a more callous response: "Because we don't fear what we don't understand." However, among the intellectual set, things go one step further. Among the intellectual set, heresy is saying "I don't get it", and thus hidden meanings that weren't there in the first place are put into books and movies. The entire business is subjective, we will not know the metaphors placed into them unless we know their makers, and thus everyone is afraid to say "you're wrong" about what the meaning is.

The unknown doesn't scare us. Admitting we don't know it scares us.

Naked Lunch, like so many movies, has no real point to it. However, because it is so weird and so out of our heads it is the automatically taken position of the intellectual set that "if I don't understand it, it must be good." Two things come out of this. The first is the comedy when someone tries to give an idiotic explanation of what something means in the midst of ignorance (i.e. the man who thought "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" was an expose about Bill Clinton). The second is the tragedy when people keep their mouths shut, not brave enough to say what is on their mind.

What is on my mind, and the mind of just about anyone who has seen the film, is "what the hell?" You have no idea what is going on in the movie, and by the end you still have no idea what is going on in the movie. Yeah, you've seen a lot of weird sights (the transvestite drug dealer, the roach-centipede intelligence war, the cannibalistic typewriters), but you're no closer to understanding what went down than anyone else is.

There is a word for this, intellectual elite: incomprehensible. I know that it is the "I" word and that you're not supposed to say it in class or conversation, but that's what Naked Lunch is.

But, you know what, it isn't just the intellectuals who do this.

The debate over whether Naked Lunch is genius or simple lunacy begins anew with Criterion's DVD release of the film. Two discs of material and a weighty little booklet ought to help you through the battle over Naked Lunch, including a Cronenberg commentary, a documentary following the making of the film, a special effects illustrated essay, and countless archival materials. Hands down, it's the best DVD with an anthropomorphic typewriter ever.



Naked Lunch

Facts and Figures

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th April 1992

Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Film Trustees Ltd., Naked Lunch Productions, Nippon Film Development and Finance Inc., The Ontario Film Development Corporation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: as Bill Lee, as Joan Frost, as Tom Frost, as Yves Cloquet, as Doctor Benway, as Fadela, Joseph Scoren as Kiki, as Hank, as Martin, Robert A. Silverman as Hans

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Advertisement
Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.