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Naked Lunch

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Naked Lunch

Starring: Peter Weller, Judy Davis
Director: David Cronenberg
Rated: R
RunTime: 117 Minutes
Release Date: December 1991
Genres: Cult, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense

*Also starring: Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider, Nicholas Campbell, Monique Mercure, Michael Zelniker

Review by Pedro Sena
2 stars out of 4

The sad thing is that such a great novel, with so many unusual elementals in it, is very difficult to translate into a film.

The good part, is that this film is fun to watch, despite, it not being able to follow the book as closely as one would like to see. I happen to like the spirit of the work, which William S. Burroughs, creates in almost all of his writings, stage work, and even in the original stuff he has done for artist and musician LAURIE ANDERSON. (Sadder yet that she did not appear to be a part of the film!)

And the neatest part, is that many good actors, just couldn't help themselves when they had a chance to be a part of such fun and unusual work to deal with.

The novel is not the easiest thing to bring to a screen. It is very quick in that it moves freely between various forms of a stream of consciousness and narrative moments, or another set of events which the main character can't quite keep up with, or has to go get himself a fix, disguised, or at least so he thinks, while his alter ego is having fun with him. For all intents and purposes, this is a drug experience piece of work, and when it is placed on the screen as a formal story, where the character has problems dealing with his feelings, it quite doesn't come off. Or Terry Gilliam should have directed this whole thing, to help blend the inner and outer aspects of the book.

But it is a rather depressing film, and not specially upbeat, although we could enjoy all the weird goings on, as a bit of New York surrealism, if not gutter New York naturalism. I had enjoyed the book quite a few years ago, when the Grove Press was making sure all the eclectic writers around were getting their due. I have to admit, that while the actors try very hard and do very well, and nicely with what they have, the film is not as lively and jumpy as the novel is. The novel keeps you interested. In this film, it seems that everything is so casual, and not important....I like the book.

The movie is good, but the book is better....if you like Burroughs, this movie will not be your bag. If you like surrealists, and odd 60's stuff, this is actually interesting.

Copyright 1994 Pedro Sena

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