Reviews

Naked Lunch

4

Canadian body-horror auteur David Cronenberg takes William Burroughs' "unfilmable" novel and grafts on a narrative by plundering episodes from the author's own life. It works, too, bottling the essence as no literal adap ever could.

Peter Weller gives it his best nasal twang as Burroughs' alter ego Bill Lee, a '50s insect exterminator who mainlines his bug repellent, kills his wife (Judy Davis) and flees to alternate realm Interzone to become a secret agent. Confused? You will be, Cronenberg fusing reality and drug-fuelled fantasy as Lee explores his suppressed homosexuality and dormant writing skills.

A fusion of Burroughs and Cronenberg that bustles with ideas, metaphors and gloopy effects, this is as much a film about the writing of Naked Lunch as a cinematic conversion of the text. The result will leave the purists enraged, the uninitiated perplexed, but it's hard to imagine a more potent study of abuse - - political, sexual, substance - or the writing process.

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