“Naked Lunch” is a very strange movie, but that has to be expected when David Cronenberg set out to make an “un-filmable” movie. The film is based on the William S. Burrough’s novel about a part-time exterminator who also happens to be a drug addict. The book is almost a hallucinogenic look at the exterminator’s life and Cronenberg attempts to keep that feeling up for his film, which hit the Criterion Collection on April 9, 2013.
“Naked Lunch” is definitely one that many people may never be able to wrap their minds around, almost one continuous drug trip from the point of view of the addict himself. It is a stranger version of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” if that even seems possible. To understand how this movie even starts, the exterminator gets hooked on the new drug, has a giant bug tell him to head to the “Interzone” and then he accidentally shoots his wife in the head and then he ends up involved in a giant government conspiracy that probably only exists in his own mind.
However, this story is just there to allow Cronenberg to take his film in strange and bizarre places. The film is not logical, and that in itself allows Cronenberg moments of brilliance. The director takes the viewer onto the strange journey, one that is almost like spying on a person’s dreams and nightmares, and honestly by the time the movie ends, the entire movie feels like a lucid dream.
The first special feature on this Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition is a 1992 documentary called “Naked Making Lunch.” It clocks in at 49 minutes and deals with the production of “Naked Lunch.” It includes interview clips from Cronenberg, Burroughs, actors Peter Weller and Judy Davis, and members of the cast. There is also about 15 minutes of marketing features including TV spots, trailers, B-rolls and a short featurette promoting the movie.
“The Naked Lunch” Criterion Collection edition also includes an audio commentary track with David Cronenberg and Peter Weller that was recorded back in 2003. There is also an interesting audio recording that lasts 64 minutes with Burroughs reading from his book.
Finally, there is a special effects gallery with artwork and photos, a film still and sketch gallery, photographs of William S, Burroughs by Allen Ginsberg and the booklet with various essays.
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Criterion Collection Releases: April 2013