Naked Lunch

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"EXterMINate ALL RatIONAL ThoughT."
  • R
  • 1991
  • 1 hr 55 min
  • 6.9  (56,531)
  • 67

Naked Lunch is a surreal, darkly comedic film from 1991 directed by David Cronenberg, based on the novel by William S. Burroughs of the same name. The movie takes place in a dystopian version of 1950s America and follows the story of William Lee (played by Peter Weller), a writer who is suffering from a severe case of writer's block.

William lives with his wife Joan (played by Judy Davis) in an apartment in New York City, and their relationship is strained. William becomes addicted to a drug called "The Black Meat," which causes him to have hallucinations and vivid dreams. During one of these dreams, William believes he kills his wife, and he flees to Interzone, a city that exists only in his imagination - or so he thinks.

In Interzone, William meets a host of strange characters, such as Tom Frost (played by Ian Holm), a drug dealer who introduces William to a typewriter-like insect that allows him to write without thinking. William also meets a bizarre cast of characters, including Dr. Benway (played by Roy Scheider), a mad scientist who performs surgeries on people while they are awake, and Mugwumps, alien-like creatures who cannot resist the allure of "The Black Meat."

As William navigates through Interzone, his reality becomes increasingly blurred. He no longer knows what is real and what is not, and the lines between his dreams and his waking life become almost non-existent. William's experiences in Interzone soon become fodder for his writing, and he begins to write about his experiences in his new novel, which he titles "Naked Lunch."

The film is a surrealist masterpiece, with visuals and ideas that often defy explanation. The movie is filled with striking imagery, from typewriters that morph into giant centipedes to Mugwumps that drool over human flesh. The film's soundtrack, composed by Howard Shore, is equally unsettling, with jarring sound effects and haunting melodies that add to the film's dreamlike quality.

At its heart, Naked Lunch is a meditation on addiction, mental illness, and the creative process. William's descent into madness is depicted with almost painful clarity, and the film never shies away from the darker aspects of his addiction. However, the film ultimately suggests that madness and addiction can be a source of inspiration, as they allow William to tap into parts of his mind that he never would have otherwise accessed.

The performances in the film are all superb, with Peter Weller in particular giving a standout performance as William Lee. Weller manages to convey a sense of deep unease and anxiety throughout the film, and his portrayal of William's addiction is both nuanced and unsettling. Judy Davis is also fantastic as Joan, a woman who is slowly losing her grip on reality along with her husband.

In conclusion, Naked Lunch is a remarkable film that defies easy categorization. It is a surreal, darkly comedic exploration of addiction, mental illness, and the creative process, and it is a film that sticks with you long after the credits roll. David Cronenberg's direction is masterful, and the film's visuals and performances are all top-notch. If you are a fan of surreal, thought-provoking cinema, then Naked Lunch is a film that you absolutely must see.

Naked Lunch is a 1991 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 55 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 67.

Naked Lunch
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 55 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (56,531)
  • Metascore