Naked Lunch - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Naked Lunch Reviews

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August 13, 2017
I still don't quite understand it fully, but I really did enjoy it. It is an extremely strange and well-made picture. I highly recommend it to anyone with an open mind.
½ July 16, 2017
It was a big trip. I read the book and i liked the movie even better. Well presented tripping of the writer.
½ July 8, 2017
I've never read the source material, but this movie seems like an unfilmable book; much of the content of the film seems like it could work in a novel, but it fails as a film and it is obvious from the end result of this movie.
March 12, 2017
From David Cronerberg, this is an oddly tantalizing disquisition into the creative process of William S. Burroughs of the Beat Generation, suggesting his suppressed desires, heroin abuse and the erotic experience of writing. Exterminate all rational thoughts, this warped arthouse piece is best appreciated as a very evocative dream sequence.
November 29, 2016
Major failure to deliver, but there is definitely something odd and charming about this film, so I could not give it a poor rating
October 9, 2016
There's a lot of interesting imagery in Naked Lunch. The Mugwumps are fantastic creatures as are the talking, bug typewriters. The whole thing is like one large, drug induced hallucination. It's a bit hard to grasp onto anything concrete, but maybe that's the point. It's a swirling mass if insubstantial ideas on creativity and language and writing. Cronenberg's script is very literary, mirroring its source material. Naked Lunch is creepy and disgusting, but also fascinating. It's hard to look away.
½ October 3, 2016
A psychedelic narrative in the Kafkaesque metamorphosizing world. Visually stunning and surprising.
September 7, 2016
Gave this a re-watch recently, just to revel in the crazy world that Cronenberg spins from the William S. Burroughs source material. The special effects hold up amazingly well, as the strange typewriter creatures look great even today, upscaled on a Blu-ray player.

The sense of alienation and foreign sexuality is very well drawn and the film stands up to repeated viewings rather well.

½ July 31, 2016
I enjoy its visuals and its overall weird and some what unsettling tone, but the story is either went over my head or its just not written well. It makes me sad that I didn't enjoy the film because I love Cronenberg's work and Weller does a great job. Maybe I second viewing would change this but the first viewing was disappointing.
½ June 25, 2016
Really unusual, strange, Kafkaesque Theater of the Absurd flick. From David Cronenberg, king of the weird, and this is one of his weirdest, and full of gay men all over the place. Strange, with a good cast..
½ June 17, 2016
I'm conflicted with how I should rate this film, because while I appreciate its lack of compromise with its audience and it's thoroughly audacious approach adapting Burrough's work, I was left cold by its wandering and emotionless plot. The film feels like a work that is intellectually teasing, and hiding its soul to confuse you. Cronenberg's bugs are as revoltingly delightful as ever, and Weller plays Burrough's counterpart character convincingly, but the lack of substance in this film makes for a dissatisfying aftertaste.
½ May 27, 2016
creepy and uncomfortable to watch, Naked Lunch shows a deep and twisting perspective inside a drug consumer-writer, in a graphic way only Cronenberg could show.
½ May 21, 2016
Perhaps Cronenbergs most bizarre and psyched out movies. Typewriters becomes living insects when hallucinating on exterminating bug drugs. Clean cut, deep, weird, in the land of no borders. Drifting away into a drug-conscious wasteland.
½ May 17, 2016
David Cronenberg takes an off the wall artistic license and the result is this bizarre, but questionable allegory of drug addiction.
½ April 6, 2016
I'll probably not enjoy this movie fully until I read the book or at least learn more about the life of William S. Burroughs, due to just how odd the narrative is lying somewhere between Adaptation and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

As best as I can tell without knowing more about the background, the movie is about self-hatred and fear being able to create art. I'm a fan of stories about making stories, however I found it just a little hard to follow and not due to the surrealist nature of the whole thing (which is definitely confusing but in a positive way and not a negative one). I think this is due to the fact that it's a metanarrative about a writer that is not Cronenberg, as opposed to Adaptation where the character is literally the writer of the movie on more levels than one. Its actually surprising that for a movie that gets so meta, that any trace of the director himself is entirely missing.

This is on a narrative level only however as almost every other Cronenberg trademark is present. Fantastic gore effects, great monsters, living technology, psychological trauma manifesting itself into reality, it's all great fun.

I'll have to come back to this after reading the book and getting a little more understanding of what I'm watching.
½ April 4, 2016
A film about the creative mind being driven by self disgust.
½ March 14, 2016
Interesting example of a good film adaptation of terrible and abstract source material. You have to be a fan of William S. Burroughs to enjoy this adaptation of his 1959 novel. The novel was meant to be non-linear and abstract, weaving various drug-induced visions together into a novel. Somewhat similar to Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, where the story is largely non-sensical. I am not a fan of the story, but tolerated the film adaptation for David Cronenberg's recreation of creatures.

The film's disastrous financial performance of $2-3M at box office upon an over $17M budget is very much what it deserves, so I thought I would go easy on it's rating by giving it a generous 6/10 solely for its adaptation. However as a film to recommend to others to see, I would give this a generous 4/10. The average of these ratings is 5/10.
February 13, 2016
For those unfamiliar with William S. Burroughs, this film adaptation of his novel "Naked Lunch" may not be for you.
I have read a good portion of Burroughs' semi-autobiographic, but mostly fiction novel &, even though it took a while to decipher, I really liked it & eventually bought it; overtime, I could just imagine the scenarios being played out. When I saw the film adaptation, I was captivated as it seemed to bring the book to life (director David Cronenberg also included elements of Burroughs' other works). With unique acting (especially by Peter Weller as William Lee), strange/intriguing settings & characters (much praise for the Mugwump), & magnificent bold direction by Cronenberg, "Naked Lunch" was a great film that captured the essence of Burroughs' famed novel. A must-see for fans of the author's works or of the Beat Generation!
January 25, 2016
It's around the 5 minute mark of David Cronenberg's adaptation of William S. Burroughs colourful novel, that you pray you remembered to strap in. Naked Lunch is the utterly bat shit biographical, comedy, psychological horror that surrounds an exterminator, who soon finds both him and his wife addicted to the chemical powder he uses for his work. After a horrible accident, he soon finds himself on the run from authorities, sifting through foreign lands or a drug binge for the ages. Naked Lunch is best enjoyed completely in the dark, although dont expect to understand it immediately, this is a film that will take many viewings and indeed research to unlock its true potential. Cronenberg has crafted something hypnotic and disturbing in equal measures, bridging the type of comedy only Terry Gilliam could get away attempting, with his trade mark psychosis and the end result is something so intimidating and wonderful, a vast amount of viewers may be turned off. The plot is difficult to follow, the comedy is pitch black, the dialogue is laden in code and metaphor, this is not for everyone. The cast all do a wonderful job, with Peter Weller stealing the show, in fairness it is indeed his show. Naked Lunch will divide opinion, its bold, fun, dark and enchanting but equally demonic, alienating and insane all at the same time, some viewers will be in heaven for its 2 hour run time, others will be lost before the ride even begins.
½ January 24, 2016
I don't think you could really hope for a stronger adaptation of this nearly unadaptable book. In what must be a unique approach to adapting a book to film, Cronenberg blends elements of this book and some of Burroughs other books with elements of Burroughs's life that surrounded the writing of the book. At the same time, he manages to make it all fit rather soundly into his own concerns and themes running throughout his films. You end up with a sort of Cronenberg-Burroughs hybrid that functions as both an incredible adaptation of Burroughs and one of Cronenberg's strongest films. That he would repeat this feat with "Crash" right after this is all the more remarkable.
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