Sunday, 20 November 2016

I've Just Seen: Naked Lunch (1991)

Director; David Cronenberg

What did I just watch?

I have really liked Cronenberg in the past; The Fly is fantastic, managing to be sickening and romantic and terribly sad all at once. Videodrome was a clever reflection on our relationship to technology and our access to extremely violent and sexual images. Both films contain some of the best use of practical effects in film history, with all their gore and squishiness. While that aspect is present in Naked Lunch I felt revolted by it all more than anything. But my revolusion was largely drawn from the characters and the story.

I can't tell you the plot of Naked Lunch, nor even how the title refers to what I saw, except that it is the name of one of William S. Burroughs' stories; the film incorporates biographical details as well as the story's plot. There is something about bugs, drugs, homosexuality, writing and spying, but the several plots don't fit together. While the acting is good, I cared for none of the characters, and though the film is not long, I just wanted it to be over.

If Cronenberg had focused more on one or two ideas from the story it would have been much more coherent. It is not that coherence is always required to enjoy a film; I still cannot pin down what Mulholland Dr.'s plot is, or exactly how The Big Sleep all fits together, but something else drew me in. All I wanted to do after watching Naked Lunch was cleanse my mind of what I had seen. 


  1. Think of it this way--at least it's over.

    I admire this film on the point that it actually exists, but nothing more. The best comment I've ever seen on it is that since it came out around the same time as The Crying Game, it has only the second-best female-to-male reveal of any movie of the early '90s.

    But hey, at least you never have to watch it again, right?

    1. That is very true, and was also the thought I had watching Satyricon. Its value lies in it being another number on my list of seen films.

      It is not the worst film I have seen, and there were interesting ideas, but but disappointment was partly due to its being Cronenberg.