When relief is as nigh as your remote control stop button, it becomes an act of will to sit through Naked, Mike Leigh’s bilious portrait of a young loser. But David Thewlis’ utterly fearless performance as Johnny, a rangy, homeless rotter who ricochets through London abusing the women he picks up, deserves your patience. It’s a sustained rant that raises verbal sparring to the heights Robert De Niro achieved playing Jake La Motta; Thewlis is a raging bull artist. Whether he’s philosophizing gently with disenfranchised drudges — a security guard, a poster hanger — or acting out his fury in squalid couplings, Thewlis makes you see the hurt Johnny causes himself as well as others. That’s not misogyny, that’s artistry. B+
Genre: Drama; Starring: Lesley Sharp, David Thewlis, Katrin Cartlidge, Greg Cruttwell; Director: Mike Leigh; Author: Mike Leigh; Status: In Season; MPAA Rating: In Season; Distributor: Fine Line Features
Posted June 24 1994 — 12:00 AM EDT
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