Critics Consensus

Naked lives up to its title with a thoroughly committed performance from David Thewlis that's backed up with some of Mike Leigh's most powerful direction.



Total Count: 56


Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,473
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Movie Info

David Thewlis' acclaimed performance stands at the bleak heart of Mike Leigh's black comedy Naked. Thewlis stars as Johnny, an intelligent but shiftless young Brit whose bitterness--at women, at the government, at God, and at himself--is all-consuming, causing him to viciously lash out at everyone in his path.


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Critic Reviews for Naked

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (7)

  • This is an astonishing film in a number of ways, a tour de force that's brilliantly played and written and directed with total conviction.

    Mar 4, 2015 | Full Review…

    Derek Malcolm

    Top Critic
  • Naked is a revelation, a parable of spiritual homelessness and the terror it engenders.

    Mar 4, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Mike Leigh's Naked is a great one -- a film of brutal impact, withering wit and humanity. It deserves one of the highest accolades movies can receive: Seeing it shakes you up, changes your vision.

    Mar 4, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Thanks to David Thewlis' performance, which has been collecting prizes since last spring's Cannes Film Festival, Johnny's energy and ferocious wit outweigh his brutishness.

    Mar 4, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • By the end of the film, there's even something vaguely inspirational about our antihero's painful journey through the bowels of his self-created hell.

    Mar 4, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Sorting out the intelligence from the hysteria is no easy matter, and the picture rubs our noses in this uncertainty so remorselessly that we sometimes forget that what we're watching is largely a comedy.

    Mar 4, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Naked

  • Jul 31, 2014
    "Naked, I just want to... stop that song reference right there. Yeah, forget Falco, although, honestly, I can't say that he's too much cheesier than reference that I don't mind going on in my head when I see this film's title: "You walk into the room, with your pencil in your hand; you see somebody naked, and you say, 'Who is that man?'". It's an at least more fitting reference, because this film can get a little weird at times, and on top of that, this film is a production by [u]Thin Man[/u] Films. Mike Leigh must be a Bob Dylan fan, which would make sense, because he seems to be about as passionate as Dylan is about talking about middle and working-class society in a slightly serious manner that's still kind of amusing, whether he intends for it to be or not. I'm really not sure if he's trying to be funny here, because as cheesy as the title sort of is, this film is a little toned down, comically speaking, for Leigh, as well it should be if it's going to have so much rape, as that's hardly a laughing matter. Now, if the lead were to suddenly turn into a werewolf and eat the woman or something, that would be a little more colorful, even though I can't say that I would be especially surprised. Well, maybe I would be a little surprised, because this film came out 11 years before "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", but as crazy as David Thewlis has always looked, he's got to be some kind of creepy, supernatural creature in real life, which is where we get this, "Werewolves East of London" (Within the first ten minutes of the film, he really does "joke" about once being a werewolf), which is fair, but a bit of a challenge, often more so than at should be, at least as a character study. A very modern black comedy about the British middle-class, this character piece thrives on problematic and obnoxious characters who are effectively drawn and well-portrayed, but just such tremendous jerks, or at least that's the case of David Thewlis' possibly manic-depressive Johnny lead. As for everyone else, you don't really find all that much time to determine if they're jerks or not, as the narrative is about the shenanigans of Johnny as he travels the grimy depths of London, - encountering colorful characters - which are rather episodic in their structure, and therefore at least about as uneven as the film's tone. This is supposed to be more serious and bleak than the usual Mike Leigh black comedy, but that just makes it all the more jarring when the film alternatives from pseudo-sophistication that sometimes comes down to philosophy and introspection, to fast-pace and rather grimy humor that is often low-brow, with enough wit to snap and snap, until it becomes overwrought. I don't even see how people as British as those portrayed in this film can consistently understand what in the world is being said in this exercise in frantic and vulgar improvisation, as the dialogue is so often so overbearing that you can't help but get worn down, even though this is supposed to be something of an intellectual affair. This film can't seem to figure out where exactly it's going, no matter how long it takes to get there, because by running just a pinch over 130 minutes, this film is way too blasted long to have only so much going on, yet still be so overwrought and uneven. Like I said, the film is rather challenging, and not entirely in a good way, for although it has plenty of effective humor and other aspects, when it gets carried away, it's rather aggravating, and decidedly exhausting. This film isn't for everyone, but for me, even though I'm not consistently impressed, I find plenty to commend through all of the grime, particularly when I find some taste. Well, if nothing else encompasses some taste, it's Andrew Dickson's score, which is not very dynamic or memorable, but is still unique with its moderate brood and whimsy, whose distinction from the grime isn't so contradictory that it fails to add some color. Really, there is plenty of color in this film, it's just that it's typically very black, even within Mike Leigh's script, which features problematic characters and overwrought, often improvised-feeling dialogue, and doesn't really do much beyond that, but hits pretty hard when it finds highlights in dark humor and intriguing characterization, both of which are sometimes anchored by an unexpected, if slightly jarring incorporation of sophistication. The film is either exhaustingly low-brow - what with its overbearing attempts at wit in the midst of freneticism - or thoroughly intelligent as a grimy take on philosophy, sociology and existentialism, and such a formula makes for a sloppy, but interesting script to be brought to life by lively direction. Leigh's direction might also be lively to the point of being overbearing, but its style is pretty sharp, whether it be a visual style whose grit compliments a sense of bleakness that defines the blackness of this comedy-dramar (It's so British that you have to tack on that "r"), or airtight framing and scene structuring that proves to be rather immersive. The film is certainly pretty engaging with its aesthetic, no matter how much it wears you down, and considering that momentum never falls that much throughout an overdrawn and overblown course, entertainment value never truly abates, often anchored by some genuine charm that is itself anchored by plenty of genuine charisma within the cast. As I said earlier, the characterization of this grimy affair is problematic and obnoxious, but if nothing else sells the characters as worthy of your investment, it's the convincing performances found all across the board, especially within the show-stealing Katrin Cartlidge, and the enthralling David Thewlis, whose overwrought lead role is hard to get into, but made actually fairly compelling because of Thewlis' commitment, which sells a sense of dysfunction within the lead, particularly when dramatic material presents itself for Thewlis to do justice through heavy emotional layers. Thewlis and his peers, found both on and off of the screen, do a decent job of carrying this film beyond its shortcomings as an entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking challenge. All in all, problematic characters are handled about as unevenly as the film's tone, which is predominantly obnoxiously abrasive to the point of wearing you down the more the film drags its feet along an overdrawn course that doesn't entirely pays off, but does manage to spare the tasteful scoring, generally intelligent writing, lively direction and powerful acting which make Mike Leigh's "Naked" an intriguing, or at least entertaining, if overwrought black comedy. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • May 15, 2013
    Naked is a sadistic vicious realist film which is black as coal. The improvised dialogue is the basis of this films acclamation, and it's well earned. This was in no way a comedy but the dialogue was wit filled. It sounded as if it was real lower class conversation. But the dark humor didn't distract from the mysoginistic theme. Nor did the philosophies of the main character Johnny, which just added to how deep of a character study Leigh created. The shocking thing about Johnny is despite him being a (borderline) rapist and sexists, he's the idle of the film. He may be despicable, but he's not the worse. David Thewlis himself put on a magnificent performance of Johnny, but the supporting characters of Louise, Sophie, and Jeremy also shined during their limited screen time. The soundtrack was centralized and efficient in creation of gloom. The whole slum setting was efficient in a pessimistic view. I mean for Gods sake the film opened with a sexual assault. The story which takes place in less than 24 hours feels like an epic, as if we've known Johnny for years now. This could well become one of the few films I'd award a 5/5, it's tremendously moving, and outstanding in craft.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    The committed performance from David Thewlis is easily the best thing about "Naked." He holds literally nothing back, absorbed in his washed-up character and spewing a thousand lines per minute from his hateful mouth. This is acting at its utmost finest and I doubt that you'll find a more underrated performance or film.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Nov 16, 2011
    Raw, unflinching and absolutely triumphant vehicle encompassing a disturbing variety of extreme characters with rotten morality and existentialist overtones, displaying throughout a decadent society of self-destructive and anarchic tendencies and one of the most memorable male leading performances in cinematic history. Take a look at Thewlis' character giving away the most laughable and intolerably preposterous take on the Book of Revelations and about the existence of God. Oh dear, those stupid atheist f**ks!! I'm sorry for the sensitive folks out there, but this movie had me on the verge of laughing several times. 97/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer

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