Naked (1993)


Critic Consensus: Naked lives up to its title with a thoroughly committed performance from David Thewlis that's backed up with some of Mike Leigh's most powerful direction.


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David Thewlis' acclaimed performance stands at the bleak heart of Mike Leigh's black comedy Naked. Thewlis stars as Johnny, an intelligent but shiftless young Brit whose bitterness--at women, at the government, at God, and at himself--is all-consuming, causing him to viciously lash out at everyone in his path.

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Critic Reviews for Naked

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (18)

Naked is a revelation, a parable of spiritual homelessness and the terror it engenders.

Mar 4, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Mike Leigh's Naked is a great one -- a film of brutal impact, withering wit and humanity. It deserves one of the highest accolades movies can receive: Seeing it shakes you up, changes your vision.

Mar 4, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Thanks to David Thewlis' performance, which has been collecting prizes since last spring's Cannes Film Festival, Johnny's energy and ferocious wit outweigh his brutishness.

Mar 4, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

By the end of the film, there's even something vaguely inspirational about our antihero's painful journey through the bowels of his self-created hell.

Mar 4, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Sorting out the intelligence from the hysteria is no easy matter, and the picture rubs our noses in this uncertainty so remorselessly that we sometimes forget that what we're watching is largely a comedy.

Mar 4, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Thewlis, who won the best-actor prize at Cannes for a performance so perfectly perverse that much as you want to, you cannot turn away.

Mar 4, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Naked


An unemployed - but intelligent - social misfit goes on the run to London following a back alley rape, but finds The Capital just as desperate and alienating as his native Manchester. This is one of the hardest films I have ever had to review. Topics such as urban alienation, career-choice unemployment, leeching, homelessness, drug taking and sexual violence would normally send me running for cover; but what we have here is so well constructed and so skilfully acted that it transcends it own headline topics. This is a classic case of car-wreck film making: You don't praise or celebrate much, yet it is deeply fascinating and even hypnotic. People are tap dancing on the edge of a metaphorical cliff - some are there of there of their own free will. Director Mike Leigh's semi-improvisational style doesn't always work, but here it really delivers something unique. You feel that you are watching real life even though too much happens in too short a time period for that to be the case. This is a wandering odyssey film and features a central performance - by David Thewlis - that ranks along the best ever witnessed in cinema. How the Oscar people could have (totally) turned their back on a performance as a good as this puzzles; although the film and actor won prizes in Cannes and New York. This is the first film I have ever seen that takes on sexual coercion in a head on fashion. People that have put themselves in a chemical or social situation where someone has something over them. The greasy upper crust landlord (Greg Cruttwell) might seem over-the-top to many but I know a few people actually like that! (For the record his actions would be deemed illegal in real life - if you have seen the film.) What happens to the on-screen people the day after this film ends? Has anything really changed? For Johnny - our central anti-hero - it will be just another day to duck and dive, avoid all work and wind people up using his extensive back reading.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

'Naked' is certainly a performance driven film, with very little storyline and as such is an insight into the main character's (David Thewlis) ways, charms, crimes and philosophys as twisted and as controversial for it's time as it might be.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

A dark, disturbing, and almost overbearingly bleak look at a drifter in England who crashes at his ex-girlfriend's flat to escape those that will be after him after he commits a heinous act. Definitely not a film for everybody, but one that is full of energy thanks to David Thewlis's incredibly realistic performance as a man who has no where to go. It's a crime Thewlis wasn't nominated for Best Actor here, he's really amazing in this film. While the paralleling of Thewlis's character with another monstrous one isn't as neatly executed as one would expect, this is still a worthy film that gives you an intense perception of the underbelly of certain English societies. Some of the dialogue is exceptional as well, some of the conversations Thewlis strikes up with the people he meets randomly is actually pretty riveting.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

deeply disturbing. is everyone in this film mentally ill? it's horrible and hilarious and very, very angry. the female characters seem uniformly masochistic and troubled but of course they'd have to be to want to associate with johnny and jeremy who so obviously hate women. thewlis' mad philosophizing antihero is brilliant and there is a kind of harsh beauty in this unflinching brutality.

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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