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Naked Lunch (The Criterion Collection)
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This edition of the DVD has enough extras to make it the only version of Naked Lunch you'll ever have to buy. (They won't release a bigger, better edition later.) The BBC documentary is okay. It's about 45 minutes long, giving Cronenberg and William Burroughs a lot of time to speak. (Burroughs is particularly good, with a dry sense of humor and a habit of saying obvious truths that make people uneasy.) The second disc also has stills from the special effects team, showing how the various creatures and organic typewriters were developed.
But it's the first disc --- the movie itself --- that makes it worth buying and watching. The special audio track, shared by Peter Weller and Cronenberg, adds a lot of useful background information. The film itself is bright and sharp, a perfect example of DVD clarity. I highly recommend this DVD to anyone who is interested in the best films of the 1990s. Naked Lunch didn't make as big an impact in theaters as it did in book stores, but it should have.
This film is about an exterminator named Bill Lee - who is played here by Peter Weller of RoboCop fame. Bill is an ex-junkie, and is thrown back into drug addiction once he finds out that his wife is addicted to the bug powder that he uses on the job. He tries it once, and becomes hooked. He starts hallucinating. Giant bugs start spouting conspiracy theories to him. A giant alien-like creature, a "mugwump", has a conversation with him at a bar. Sounds weird, huh? It only gets weirder from there on out. And I mean WEIRD. One night, he and his wife decide to play a random game of William Tell that goes horribly wrong, in that he accidentally shoots his wife in the head, and she dies. He flees the scene, and heads off to the "Interzone," an exotic city that may or may not exist inside of his head. He starts to write a novel, a novel that will eventually become the book Naked Lunch. While he is in the "Interzone," his hallucinations get worse. They become so surreal and weird, that it is hard to differentiate between what is real and what is not. I don't have time to explain it all - some of the hallucinations were so strange, that I can't print them for fear of offending someone - however, one thing is certain: this is definitely a film that requires a second viewing.
The character William Lee is loosely based on author William S. Burroughs. Burroughs really did shoot his wife during a game of William Tell, and this novel was written shortly after that incident.Read more ›
Peter Weller is impeccably cast as Bill Lee who is sort of a reworking of Burroughs himself. He plays a writer employed as an exterminator who finds out that his wife is addicted to his bug powder. Under the prying eyes of the drug enforcement agency Bill escapes his life to work for a beetle-typewriter (you have to see that thing!) as an undercover homosexual agent who travels to a place called the "Interzone" to write up daily reports there.
The film is provocative and thoroughly insane in every department. The monsters all look genuinely disturbing but even more so when the characters interact with them in the most indescribable of ways. There is a doctor called Benway (Roy Scheider) who appears to be helping Bill to get through his problems of drug addiction and yet turns up later in the film in the most startling of scenes. For a man who once played the lead in "Jaws" it will certainly blow a few minds to see him unzip his breasts. Judy Davis plays Joan Frost and Joan Lee who appear in both the real world and the fantasy world as wife and curiosity of Bill Lee. Davis is on flying 1950s form as usual.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the strangest, interesting movie I have ever seen. Some suggestion of homosexuality in a couple of small scenes, which some people might find offensive, however, the rest of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Craig Shoemaker
A great surrealist riff on Burroughs' revolutionary novel, but even more narratively coherent as well as more comical. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jim reigle
This is a surrealistic masterpiece and the added interview disc with David Cronenberg and William Burroughs makes this a must for fans of each artist. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Z
long time no see. The last time I watched this was when it came out on Cinemax and I taped it to VHS. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Fred
William S. Burroughs is a writer who, on the face it, wrote books that are largely unadaptable to film. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ozone Joe
David Cronenberg's adaptation of Willam S. Burrough's Naked Lunch takes the themes from Burrough's novels and weaves them into a plot of Cronenberg's own imagination. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Wayne Klein
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