Gary Giddins
July 24, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Naked Lunch

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
115 minutes
Limited Release Date
12/27/91
performer
Judy Davis, Peter Weller, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider
director
David Cronenberg
distributor
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
author
David Cronenberg
genre
Sci-fi and Fantasy, Drama

We gave it a B

William S. Burroughs’ 1959 novel Naked Lunch must have seemed an ideal text to director David Cronenberg (The Fly, Dead Ringers). The filmmaker’s obsession with mutant insects and treacherous body parts finds obvious corollaries in Burroughs’ hallucinations about giant cockroaches doubling as typewriters in the paranoid fictional world of Interzone. But despite several wild and funny visual conceits, Cronenberg was unable to find a filmic equivalent for Burroughs’ glimmering, erupting prose. Drawing on the novelist’s life (Burroughs accidentally shot his wife to death while playing William Tell and later moved to Morocco) as well as his fiction, Cronenberg re-creates Interzone as a Morocco of the mind, occupied by an insidious couple based on writers Paul and Jane Bowles. Peter Weller (RoboCop) is appropriately tight-lipped as the hallucinating novelist who gets hooked on bug powder, and Judy Davis (Barton Fink) is memorably wan in two roles. Yet the film is oddly staid, a quality accentuated by the small screen. B

You May Like

Comments

EDIT POST