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3.7
5,273 Ratings

Naked Lunch

Directed by David Cronenberg
Canada, United Kingdom, 1991
Drama, Avant-Garde, Cult

Synopsis

In a drug haze, a bug exterminator using his insecticide to get high believes himself to be a government agent and flees to a secret organization after accidently killing his wife. Based on the cult novel by William S. Burroughs.

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Naked Lunch Directed by David Cronenberg

Awards & Festivals

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

1991 | 2 wins including: Best Supporting Actress

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

1991 | 2nd place: Best Music

London Critics Circle Film Awards

1993 | Winner: Actress of the Year

The narrative allows Cronenberg to consider Burroughs’ life and work in multiple contexts, switching between perspectives in a manner akin to Burroughs’ free-form prose. Burroughs emerges as a complex figure, a man torn between multiple identities; in this regard, he’s truly Cronenbergian, a mysterious entity even to himself. NAKED LUNCH is also very funny and features some excellent showboating from Judy Davis, Roy Scheider, and the puppeteers behind the strange creatures.
November 10, 2017
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Cronenberg is admirably committed to keeping the viewer on the back foot, and crafts a dense, sardonic stew in which the constant slippage between different levels of hallucination—there is no “reality” here—is barely perceptible. Horribly sweaty close-ups, repugnant sexual imagery, and squalling, epigrammatic jazz blasts from the Ornette Coleman trio complete the package.
January 07, 2015
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The film marries Cronenberg’s renowned on-set improvisation with what amounts to a miraculous balancing act between the cinematic and the literary, fiction and nonfiction, creative and destructive urges, and even Cronenberg and Burroughs’s dueling sexualities. Here, the director’s trademark obsessions aid in maximizing the spirit of Burroughs’s eponymous, “unfilmable” novel.
April 15, 2013
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