A restless young man in a crazy world.
In the last twenty years Naked always stayed on my mind. I could never forget David Thewlis as Johnny, a 27 years old lost soul in a distant world, but a special one, someone who would be a saviour if he could control his impulses a bit better.
After raping a woman he flees by car from Manchester to London, where his ex-girlfriend Louise lives. They have had an relationship for a year in Manchester. She ever gave him her adress on a postcard and there he is, sitting next to the closed frontdoor. A female friend of Louise comes home and invites him for a cup of tea. She is a punk and a great scene follows: Johnny asks her about objects in the house that belong to Sandra, the third women that lives in the appartment, a nurse who is in Africa at that moment. Johnny is quite obnocious to her as he is in the rest of the movie, but he also has a soft and warm side and can also say sorry sometimes.
Louise is not thrilled to see him, especially because he and Sophie, as the punk woman is called, are getting close ( although Johnny can also be mean to Sophie). Louise doesn’t like the idea that Johnny is staying much longer. She is tired from working and wants to watch television in the evenings. Johnny gets under her skin. He repeats questions like: ‘What are you doing in London?’ He sees himself as a monkey, reflecting other people.
Once in a while we see shots from Sebastian, a rich pervert, spending his time with a woman. Later on he turs out to be the landlord, who fucks and spanks Sophie.
The most wonderful parts of the movie are when Johnny goes out in the streets, meeting other people. He is very intelligent, knows about Nostradamus or about the butterfly effect which can knock down a woman at the other side of the earth. He meets Archie who is shouting for his friend Maggie. When he finally sees her, they start to quarrel and Johnny, who helped them to find eachother, stays behind as a saviour or an angel. He also meets Brian, a nightwatch in an empty office. Johnny very directly asks him about his wife, who lives in Bangkok for thirteen years now, and his last fuck. They have an interesitng conversation about living in the present and the end of the world. They see a nice looking woman dancing in her house on the other side of the street. Johnny visits her, has a fuck and with her and is scared to see her tattoo which reminds him of his mother.
During breakfast in a coffeeshop, he gets in touch with the shy waitress, a beautiful woman, who is the housekeeper of some gay people who are in Canada at that moment. She offers him beans and a shower but when he says something about her sad face, she insists that he leaves. He then meets a man who is stickering and gets kicked by him in the street. ‘Anybody object that I scream?’ he shouts in the dark. After having been beaten up by a gang, he finally returns to Louise and gets a good medical treat by Sandra, who has just returned home from Africa.
This is a wonderful picture of young people coping with modern city life. Louise, who looks like Angela Merkel, is the most adult of them all, friendly and forgiven, Sophie wants sex all the time, Sandra is neurotic and cannot stand that things get out of hand, Sebastian likes to have power over other people and dominate women. Johnny at last is a very complicated person. A womanizer, a monkey say, monkey do, cynical about everything, not able or willing to find his direction. It is fascinating to follow this man, driven by his restlessness. A kind of modern Catweazle who is unfamiliar what the modern habits. Not too much is told about his youth, fortunately. Johnny says to the waitress that she can find his mother on the top shelf of a magazine store. A very alive, dramatic, classic movie.