Naked Lunch (Criterion Collection) (1991)
: 115 min.
GreenCine Spotlight, November 2003:
"The very fact that it's unfilmmable means that I'm free to invent something new," David
Cronenberg told an interviewer as he was wrapping his reinvention of William S.
Burroughs' 1959 stunner of a novel, Naked Lunch. When you see Peter
Weller as the film's lead, Bill Lee, you realize immediately that he's an amalgam of Burroughs's gaunt desperation following the accidental shooting of his wife (played with ferocity by Judy Davis, who took the role after proclaiming Cronenberg's script the most erotic she'd ever read) and Cronenberg's sly, studious eagerness to creep you out. That is the face of this film, part biopic, part cinematic rendering of an autobiographical psychogram from a writer for whom writing is hell, quite literally, yet also the only means of survival.
You'll want to catch the audio commentary by Cronenberg and Weller on this Criterion disc and also the bonus disc with its a making-of doc, clips of Burroughs reading from his book and more.
You might also enjoy:
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Terry Gilliam's equally weird, even trippier adaptation of a drug-induced book
William S. Burroughs - Final Academy Documents
Priceless footage here for anyone wanting to study up on the beat poet
William S. Burroughs - Commissioner of Sewers
In depth doc covers many angles of cult figure's life