It's amazing how Mike Leigh can approach the realm of soap opera-style melodramatic plot points and still come out with the sharpest knives in his arsenal. 'Secrets & Lies' is coiled and myriad, and so impressively controlled that it occasionally leaves one feeling like a wrung-out cloth. Beautiful and layered â" one of his best.
Incessant, un-stoppable, and unforgiving, 'Naked' may be Leigh's darkest work by a country mile. Somehow, despite his frustrations as a character, one can't help but warm to David Thewlis' Johnny in the same way Lesley Sharp does near the end of the film. Like Leigh's best work, it hurts to laugh because, like the old saying goes, "It's funny because it's true."
Already in 1990, Mike Leigh was showing what a master of chronicling modern British (and by extension, everywhere in general) life he truly is. Timothy Spall's buffoon-act may lapse into near-pantomime from time to time, but otherwise 'Life is Sweet' is a (sorry) sweet prelude to later masterworks like 'Another Year'.