Naked Lunch (1991)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Canada/United Kingdom/Japan, 1991.  , Téléfilm Canada, , , , , .  Screenplay by David Cronenberg, based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by

David Cronenberg freely adapts the novel by William S. Burroughs, taking his prose and incorporating aspects of Burroughs’ own biography as the guide for its interpretation.   plays a blocked writer whose wife (Judy Davis) convinces him that the bug spray he uses in his day job is terrific for getting high. After accidentally shooting her in a drug-induced stupor (a la Burroughs and his wife Joan Vollmer in real life), Weller takes off to Morocco and gets involved with a number of shady characters and a few talking typewriters, the lines of reality blurring for both him and the audience as the substances take over his mind.  Weller and Davis are terrific, with other cast members playing representations of Burroughs’ contemporaries (Kerouac, Ginsberg, Bowles, etc). The film’s obsessive weirdness will put some audiences off and be seen as pretentious, as Cronenberg has very dry fun with the material and the film has little joy in its indulgences, but the pace is smooth and the screenplay is perfectly polished.

The Criterion Collection:  #220

3 Comments Add yours

  1. bloodyrenn says:

    One of the ironic yet pleasurable things about Naked Lunch is just how Kafkaesque it actually is despite being based off of Burroughs’ work and life.

    1. henryjames77 says:

      I just read the book recently. It is QUITE a trip. Thank you so much for visiting and for your comments!

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