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UK / Canada 1991
Directed by
David Cronenberg
117 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Naked Lunch

Anyone who came to Naked Lunch without familiarity with William S. Burroughs and his 1959 novel of the same name would be asking "what the...?" Burroughs, black sheep extraordinaire of the Burroughs typewriter dynasty was a junkie, homosexual and gun lover who, as does his alter ego in this film, William Lee, accidentally shot his wife dead whilst playing a William Tell game with a pistol and live rounds. As his nightmarish imaginary world is full of slimy, creepy crawlies and people and things who transform in them, Cronenberg, who also adapted the novel, was the perfect director to bring it to cinematic realization.

Peter Weller plays William Lee, a cockroach exterminator, whilst Judy Davis is his wife who is addicted to his bug powder dust. In the mix are Ian Holm, in typical bent form, Julian Sands and Roy Scheider whilst (still) unknowns Nicholas Campbell and Michael Zelniker as a couple of writers are loosely based on the author's real-life friends, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. As an account of the interface between reality and the creative artist's (drug-induced) transformation of it, this is a credible effort and thanks to Cronenberg's regular production team, including cinematographer Peter Suschitzky and Howard Shore as composer, a rather waek ending notwithstanding,a skilfully-crafted introduction to the warped world of W.S.Burroughs..




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