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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Dolby Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Audio commentary by director Mike Leigh and actors David Thewlis and Katrin Cartlidge
  • Exclusive new video interview with director Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men)
  • The Art Zone: "The Conversation," a BBC program featuring author Will Self interviewing Leigh
  • The Short and Curlies, a short comedy from 1982 directed by Leigh and starring Thewlis
  • Original theatrical trailer

Naked


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Mike Leigh
Starring: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharpe, Katrin Cartlidge, Greg Cruttwell, Claire Skinner, Peter Wight, Ewen Bremner
1993 | 131 Minutes | Licensor: New Line Home Entertainment

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #307
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: September 20, 2005
Review Date: December 23, 2008

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SYNOPSIS

Mike Leigh's brilliant and controversial Naked stars David Thewlis as Johnny, a charming, eloquent, and relentlessly vicious drifter on the lam in London. Rejecting all those who would care for him, the volcanic Johnny hurls himself into a nocturnal odyssey through the city, colliding with a succession of the desperate and the dispossessed, and scorching everyone in his path. With a virtuoso script and raw performances from Thewlis and costars Katrin Cartlidge and Lesley Sharpe, Leigh's panorama of England's crumbling underbelly is a showcase of black comedy and doomsday prophecy, and was the winner of the best director and actor prizes at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.

Forum members rate this film 8.3/10

 

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PICTURE

The Criterion Collection presents Mike Leigh's Naked in its aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on the first dual-layered DVD. The image has been enhanced for widescreen televisions.

The image looks quite good, though for a newer New Line film (they seem to take decent care of their films) I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The film is very dark since it takes place mostly at night, but the black levels are perfect so you can easily see what's going on. The colour scheme is drab and dirty, but they look wonderfully saturated and still manage to look great on screen.

The print still has a few flaws and grain is still present, but it's sharp, nicely detailed, and still very pleasing to look at. There are some noticeable artifacts but theyíre not at all distracting. In all a nice transfer from Criterion, very suiting for the film.

7/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The English Stereo track is pretty good, suiting the film. Dialogue is as clear as it is probably going to get, and yes, I did have trouble with some of the accents, but this has always been the case for me with this movie. The filmís score sounds very good and has great range. Sound quality overall is clean with no distortion. In all itís a clean, acceptable track.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

I was really looking forward to this release and have to say I'm shocked at how little there really is on it. I think what got to me was the fact Criterion released An Angel at My Table on a single-disc DVD and released Naked as a two-disc DVD, even though Angel has more supplements and is actually a longer film. Not counting the commentary I think there's barely an hourís worth of material on here.

The commentary is good, though. A port from the Criterion laserdisc, the audio commentary features Mike Leigh, David Thewlis, and Katrin Cartlidge. I rather enjoyed it and found it worth the time. I'm not 100% sure, but it sounds as though Leigh and Cartlidge were recorded together and Thewlis separately. At any rate everyone talks a lot about how Leigh works, doing improvisations before shooting and then filming the scene. There are some good anecdotes, specifically from Thewlis, and I enjoyed listening to Leigh talk about filmmaking and his personal thoughts.

You'll also find the trailer on this disc, which I think is the American one (the laserdisc included the UK one.)

The rest of the supplements are found on disc 2, a single-layer DVD. The first is an interview with director Neil LaBute. Running 12-minutes he talks about his love of Leigh's work and also touches on the similarity with his films, like the "Misogynist" charges both have received about their work. As a whole he offers a brief but interesting analysis of Naked and its characters in this short piece.

A little disappointing is the interview with Leigh. Coming from a BBC program called The Art Zone, Will Self talks to Leigh about his career and Naked at what looks like a cafe. There's some interesting stuff but overall I have to say I found it a tad dry. The commentary with Leigh proved to be more interesting.

And finally we get a short film by Leigh called The Short & the Curlies starring Thewlis as an odd little man trying to win over a Chemist/Pharmacist employee. It's rather charming and has a few smiles so it's worth checking out (it's also the complete opposite of Naked.)

And we also get a booklet with two essays, one by Derek Malcolm on the film and its place in Mike Leigh's filmography, and another essay by Amy Taubin, which focuses on the character of Johnny.

Unfortunately, for some reason (maybe a rights issue) Criterion has not included two supplements from the laserdisc release. One was a Leigh filmography with clips, and the other was a radio drama called Too Much of a Good Thing Disappointing, but again I assume it has to do with rights issues as there is more than enough room for these supplements on here.

And there you have it. Again, the collection of supplements are disappointing. There's only four things on here not counting the trailer, and other than the commentary, they don't offer too much insight into the film. But I was quite happy just to finally have this film on DVD since New Line was in no hurry to release it.

6/10

CLOSING

Unfortunately not a complete port of the laserdisc (even failing to port over the rather cool laserdisc cover art, going instead with a rather bland still from the film) and containing little in the way of supplements, the release did let me down somewhat since it was a release I had been greatly anticipating. But I still give it a mild recommendation for those that love the film; the transfer and commentary made me happy enough with it.


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