“Naked Lunch” (1991)

September 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm (Cinema, Reviews & Articles, The Beats, William S. Burroughs)

Taken from The New York Times, Dec. 27, 1991 and written by Janet Maslin…

Drifting In and Out of a Kafkaesque Reality

Naked Lunch, adapted by the dauntless David Cronenberg from William S. Burroughs’ 1959 landmark novel, represents a remarkable meeting of the minds. It’s hard to imagine another filmmaker who could delve so deeply into the monstrousness of Mr. Burroughs’ vision, in the end coming up with a bona fide monster movie of his own. Yet while Mr. Cronenberg’s ingenious approach to his material matches Mr. Burroughs’ flair for the grotesque, it also shares the author’s perfect nonchalance and his ice-cold wit. Seldom has a filmmaker offered his audience a more debonair invitation to go to hell.

The director of The Fly, Dead Ringers and Scanners will not disappoint viewers who appreciate his devilish ingenuity. Instead of attempting the impossible task of adapting Naked Lunch literally, Mr. Cronenberg has treated the disjointed, hallucinatory book as a secondary source. Concentrating instead on Mr. Burroughs himself, the drug experience that colors his writing and the agonies of the creative process, Mr. Cronenberg also devises purely metaphorical versions of the author’s wild and violent sexual scenarios. The result, by turns bracing, brilliant, and vile, is a screen style as audacious as Mr. Burroughs’ is on the page. Read the rest of this entry »

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