Before I go into my review I just want to post a quick apology for not updating my blog in so long. It happened because of a culmination of many personal issues which when combined with Woody Allen films not being interesting tested my passion and I ultimately failed.

 

However it’s now August and I am back writing and about to attempt to a new challenge which I’m calling ’50 Film August’. The essence as you can probably guess is that I watch 50 films in the month. These can be any films whether or not I’ve seen them before (although I hope to watch a least one new film a day) and I will attempt to watch as wide a range of films as possible so expect a range of genres and quality in the films to be reviewed.

I started the challenge with a film that I’ve been meaning to watch for years. David Cronenberg’s surrealist adventure ‘Naked Lunch’. Cronenberg is a director who I have kind of missed in my filmic exploration the only other film of his I have watched being the Fly (1986); saying this I always have the thought that he’s a director I would probably love and with Naked Lunch it is clear why.

The story of Naked Lunch follows Bill – an exterminator and junkie – who becomes addicted to the ‘bug spray’ he uses in his work. Once the addiction begins the film follows him on a half real, half hallucinogenic journey to ‘Interzone’ an African-like city. On his arrival he is given ‘missions’ by a talking bugs and giant aliens. His missions generally relate to either drugs or sex with the film full of vaginal imagery as well as homosexual references.

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Based on a book by William S. Burroughs, the film creates an eerie, surreal world with the timeline skipping ahead at random intervals. This disorientates the viewer and helps add confusion as to what part of the film are real and what parts take place in Bill’s head. Everything on the film seems to be done purposefully however to fully understand the symbology it definitely needs to be rewatched.

The film is incredibly stylistic in every department with the use of colour particularly standing out; the film is full of earthy greens and browns, the colour of bugs. The music is also perfectly crafted to the film with the constant use of free-style jazz adding greatly to the fractured nature of the film in a David Lynchesque way.

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Technically the film also excels particularly in its use of practical special effects to create the giant bugs and aliens. The bug ‘typewriters’ with the vagina like lips look amazing and are animated perfectly to the scene. Watching the skill of these animatronics was wonderful and made me reflect that even though these sorts of effects are unlikely to ever be used in a modern film – which is a shame as they look much better than the rubbish CGI seen in films such as The Hunger Games (2012).

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The only aspect that lets this film down is the performances of minor cast members are a little wooden. In the lead role Peter Weller shows the dryness of the character well and is supported by the always-superb Ian Holm; its just a shame the rest of the cast cannot match these standards and it is a little distracting as to how forced they often seem.

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Now to score the film I have come up with a new scoring system which takes into account different areas in a attempt to make it fairer. I will score the film out of 5 in four categories (Content, Style, Technical & Enjoyment) before averaging these scores into a single out of 10 score.

 

Naked Lunch is a highly original film with a fantastic style to it; the story and look where like nothing else I have ever seen and it was a thoroughly enjoyable (albeit confusing watch) therefore it scores as follows:

Content – 4/5

Style – 5/5

Technical – 4/5

Enjoyability – 4/5

 

This gives the film a total of 17/20, which I round into 8/10.

 

Thanks for reading.