Mike Leigh must have done something in his life to understand human behaviour so well. How he creates, prepares and depicts his characters, I am afraid, is beyond any imagination for most directors or artists. It is unbelievable how he creates his strange plots, looking strange and unique but these sort of things are happening around, and brings life into it with extra ordinary characters. Naked, is yet another example of this amazing anthropologist director. I dont know if Mr. Leigh had anything to do with Anthropology, but for me he has studied human beings better than anybody I know.
Johnny flees from Manchester to London, to avoid getting beaten by the husband of a lady when his sex with her turns out to rape. He arrives in the shared flat of his girl friend, Louise, shared with Sophie and Sandra. Sandra is out on a trip to Zimbabwe, which means there is space in the flat. Its Johnny's tryst with Sophie, Sandra and couple of other London characters, what make out this brilliant movie.
Johnny is bloody intelligent actually, but like many Leigh characters, he speaks out loud against many problems of this world and its existentialism and cliches. And he does this in the most brutal and unsophisticated manner, ruthless, brutal, sadistic and cruelly sarcastic. At the same time, he needs only few seconds to charm anybody, man or woman, and to seduce them. But then its his after conduct that brings out his ruthlessness and kind of dictatorial nature.
To be frank, this is an unbelievable movie. It is no action, no comedy or drama or anything like that. But just through one character, which is unpretentious and ruthless, it portrays a different side of human nature. May be that is why it is named as Naked, as human mind is left open without any pretensions here.
We get to see a different side of Johnny through all the characters he come across, all of them unique in their own ways, may it be Louise, Sophie, the security man, the young couple on street, the young waitress who throws him out of her apartment, the aged woman across the building or finally Sandra the nurse coming back from Zimbabwe. I wish, I could recollect and write down some of the dialogues of Johnny that anybody reading this, who have already not watched this movie, will understand what I am trying to say. It is a pity I cant write. I could write and write and write about this for long. Brilliant.
Truly out of the world performances by everybody, typical of Leigh movies, especially David Thewlis as Johnny. How can a man with blood and flesh understand this kind of a character and live as that person on celluloid. Unbelievable. I am told, Mr. Spielberg was so amused that he requested for a meeting with Mr. Thewlis. Speilberg, Martin Scorcese and Brian de Palma had spend a whole night arguing on this character before.
And what to say about Leigh, nothing more than what I have already. This man is a genius. It is towards the end that he really surprise us. The final 20 minutes or so turns out literally to be a laugh riot actually, even if it is not what might have been intended. Especially since the arrival of Sandra, the movie takes a very different turn for the viewer with lots of laughs. All credit to this genius director.
I dont have anything more to say actually, my salutes to Mr. Leigh and his team. This is the best of raw cinema. Most uncompromising effort on celluloid, to my experience.
There is a way of saying in Malayalam - I live in Kochi - and I can tell to my friend, if I need to get beaten, I can get it done in Kochi, why go all the way up to Mumbai to get beaten.. In someways, this is how it works for the major character in Naked.