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After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally murders his wife and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in an Islamic port town in Africa.
For more about Naked Lunch and the Naked Lunch Blu-ray release, see Naked Lunch Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on August 17, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider, Nicholas Campbell
Director: David Cronenberg
» See full cast & crew
Naked Lunch Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, August 17, 2012
David Cronenberg's "Naked Lunch" (1991) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Italian distributors Eagle Pictures. The supplemental features on the disc include original theatrical trailer for the film; video interview with producer Jeremy Thomas; and audio commentary by director David Cronenberg. In English, with optional English, Italian, and Italian SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch is about a bizarre journey that begins and ends in the mind of a man people who have not experimented with drugs will likely never understand. It is like an intense dream which makes sense for as long as it lasts - then when one tries to remember it, one draws a blank. The film is loosely based on the famous book by William S. Burroughs, one of the icons of the Beat Generation and a man who experimented with virtually every drug he could get his hands on.
The main character (Peter Weller) in Naked Lunch is a failed writer turned bug exterminator who discovers that he is short on bug powder because his wife, Joan (Judy Davis), has started shooting up on it. Instead of trying to get her off the powder, Bill decides to experiment with it and see if it is as good as Joan claims. Soon after, his typewriter turns into a giant talking bug that urges him to head to the Interzone, a magical place where lost souls can rebuild their lives and roam free. Before he leaves, Bill accidentally shoots his wife in the head.
In the Interzone, Bill begins writing important reports - at least he is convinced that they are because it is never made clear why he is writing them. He also meets some older friends, one of whom tries to convince him that he is a homosexual. Another man (Julian Sands) he meets literally consumes his friend.
While exploring the darker corners of the Interzone, Bill comes to appreciate its entirety. He does not always understand what he sees or hears, but the atmosphere and the rhythm of life makes him feel good. Only occasionally he gets lost and wakes up with his heart racing in strange places that look a lot like junkyards.
Naked Lunch is Cronenberg's most unusual film, and arguably his best. It was inspired by a book which many believed was unfilmable because it is essentially a bizarre summation of drug-induced hallucinations and fantasies. There is no specific direction in it, only a certain atmosphere.
But in the film the atmosphere is actually surprisingly well recreated - practically the entire film tiptoes along the thin line that separates fantasy and reality, a place where drug addicts spend most of their time, with impressive authority. Like a dream, the strange Interzone makes sense for as long as Cronenberg guides us through it. When the film ends, we feel as if we have experienced a strange dream - the sensation is there but the logic needed to explain the dream isn't.
Another aspect of the film that impresses is the fact that it does not look kitschy. The direction, unique decors and costumes give it a modern retro look which is unlike anything else that has been accomplished before. This just goes to show that Cronenberg, who also wrote the script, was indeed the one and only director who could have effectively filmed Burroughs' ramblings.
Weller is simply superb as the confused bug exterminator who decides to enter the Interzone. A couple of his visions, and particularly the ones where he communicates with Clark Nova, are some of the wackiest sequences ever filmed. Davis is also terrific as his powder addicted wife. Sands has a limited time in front of the camera but leaves a memorable impression. The lovemaking fragment his character appears in is one of the true highlights in the film, a total mind-bender, something only Cronenberg could have envisioned.
Note: In 1992, Naked Lunch was nominated for the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. The film also won Best Director and Best Screenplay Awards (David Cronenberg) at the National Society of Film Critics Awards.
Naked Lunch Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with VC-1 and granted a 1080p transfer, David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Italian distributors Eagle Pictures.
The basics of the high-definition transfer are mostly intact. Close-ups convey decent depth and clarity, while a few of the larger panoramic shots convey pleasing fluidity (see screencapture #19). However, some edge shimmer is occasionally visible. Some very light noise also creeps in, especially during darker sequences. There are no traces of overzealous degraining, but the high-definition transfer appears to have been struck from a dated source and some fluctuations in the grain structure are easy to spot. Generally speaking, edge-enhancement does not destabilize the image, but traces of light sharpening could be seen here and there (see screencapture #16). Color reproduction is pleasing. Lastly, there are no serious stability issues. Large cuts, damage marks, warps, and stains are also nowhere to be seen. All in all, this Italian Blu-ray release of Naked Lunch offers a decent upgrade in quality over the Criterion R1 DVD release of the film. However, there are a few areas of the presentation where small improvements clearly can be made. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Naked Lunch Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Eagle Pictures have provided optional English, Italian, and Italian SDH subtitles for the main feature.
Despite the fact that the back cover of the Blu-ray release insists that there are two DTS-HD HR 5.1 tracks on the disc, these tracks are indeed standard DTS-HD Master Audio tracks.
Generally speaking, the original lossless audio track opens up the film rather well. Ornette Coleman and Howard Shore's jazzy score comes alive where it must, while the dialog is very crisp, clean, and stable. Surround movement, however, is modest, though this should not be surprising. There is no problematic background hiss, high-frequency distortions or audio dropouts to report in this review.
Naked Lunch Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Naked Lunch Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Bold, twisted, and confusing are only a few of the words one could use to describe Naked Lunch, arguably David Cronenberg's best film. It truly is quite unlike any other film ever made - it is a real mind-bender with a style to die for. Despite some minor flaws, this Italian Blu-ray release, courtesy of Eagle Pictures, looks quite good. Let's hope that Criterion will eventually upgrade their DVD release of the film in the U.S as well. RECOMMENDED.
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Naked Lunch Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Naked Lunch Blu-ray - October 22, 2011
Italian distributors Eagle Pictures will release on Blu-ray acclaimed director David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch (1991), starring Peter Weller, Ian Holm, Roy Scheider, Julian Sands, and Judy Davis. In 1992, the film won Best Director and Best Screenplay Awards at ...
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