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Naked [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Blu-ray Release Date: July 12, 2011
  • List Price: $39.95


Naked - Widescreen

Purchase Naked on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

The Film
Video Quality
Audio Quality
Supplemental Materials

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film


Naked is one of my all-time favorite films. I first experienced this film from director Mike Leigh as one of a string of foreign and independent films during my late teens and early twenties that caused me to transform from a simple moviegoer looking for quick entertainment into someone who appreciated film as a true high art form. These films included a VHS copy (remember those?) of Federico Fellini’s 1963 classic 8 ½ that someone left over at my house, the cult classic dark comedy Drugstore Cowboy (1989) from Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting; Milk), Pedro Almodóvar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990) and Whit Stillman’s Barcelona (1994). Of this powerful group of films, quite awesome when I think back on it now, even with masterful Fellini in the mix, it is Naked that made the biggest impression on me.

A powerful, sullen, exploration of desperate lives that would see leading man David Thewlis explode onto the scene in his now iconic role as Johnny, an angry, unemployed, but brilliant philosophizing young man, Naked‘s architecture of Dick Pope’s artfully shaded cinematography, Andrew Dickson’s nearly droning and doleful score is propelled into the atmosphere by Mike Leigh’s informed handling of the material and Thewlis’ riveting, energetic performance.

Often criticized for its brutal treatment of women, the film follows the wandering Johnny (Thewlis). From the opening scene, we see Johnny engaged in a sexual act gone wrong. Most wrongly assert this to be a rape, but watch, or, more precisely, listen closely and you will here the utterances of what is an “oh, yeah” or something of that sort from the woman. What it is, is rough sex gone bad, terribly bad. Johnny’s proclivities towards getting rough with his women got the better of him and this forces him to run away from Manchester before he has to take a beating from her family.

He heads south to his former girlfriend Louise (Lesley Sharp) where he finds her flatmate Sophie (Katrin Cartlidge), yet another one of the put upon women in Leigh’s film. He quickly seduces and casts her off in favor of Louise once she finally returns from work. From there, we follow Johnny through the streets of London through an endless parade of characters, each isolated and desperate in their own way. There’s a security guard guarding an empty space, a young homeless couple, an older woman looking for rough sex, and a sad mousy coffee shop girl.

For all of Johnny’s witty rants and post-apocalyptic proclamations, however brutal he may seem toward women, physically or emotionally, this is always offset with a cutting sense of humor. More than that, there has been a subplot cleverly interwoven into Naked involving a real rapist when juxtaposed against Thewlis’ Johnny, makes the latter seem all the more sympathetic. Still, Johnny is a definite anti-hero in the classic sense and Naked’s black comedy and brutal treatment of the helpless may be difficult for some to watch. It would be an awful reason to miss this certified classic, however.

Video Quality


An excellent film-like presentation with strong, steady, fine grain structure and marvelously nuanced shadow details is what you will experience with this AVC/MPEG-4 1080- transfer of Naked from Criterion. There is very little source damage to be seen and perhaps the only flaw is that blacks occasionally look a bit washed out. Other than that, this is almost perfect.

Audio Quality


The outer packaging lists 2.0 surround and even the booklet offers information on the disc’s Dolby 2.0 Surround audio transfer, but in reality this new Blu-ray from Criterion is supplied with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo option, no Dolby to be found. Someone obviously goofed on the packaging. With that aside, it’s a beautiful sounding mix that masterfully conveys the moodiness of Andrew Dickson’s sparse but moving score with warmth. Dialogue is also quite clean and full.

Supplemental Materials


One can always count on Criterion to supply a healthy dose of intelligent and informative supplements that offer a good bit of insight into the feature and the filmmaker. On those counts, Naked doesn’t disappoint, even including an early Leigh short film with a rather young-looking Thewlis in the lead.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Commentary recorded exclusively for the Criterion Collection in 1994 featuring director Mike Leigh and actors David Thewlis and Katrin Cartlidge
  • Neil LaBute on Naked (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:12.44) – Interview with filmmaker Neil Labute recorded exclusively for the Criterion Collection in Vancouver in 2005.
  • The Art Zone: “The Conversation” (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:36.36) – Novelist Will Self sat down in a London pub with director Mike Leigh in March 2000 for this episode of the BBC program The Art Zone, to talk about Leigh’s unique method of filmmaking.
  • The Short and Curlies (1.33:1; 1080i/60; 0:17.08) – David Thewlis and Alison Steadman star in this 1987 short comedy by Mike Leigh about a chatty hairdresser whose client falls for a young man who communicates only through one-liners. The film features optional commentary by Leigh.
  • Trailer (1.33:1; 1080i/60)
  • Booklet: The booklet feels a little thin in comparison to other Criterion releases, but it still contains two very insightful essays from film critics Derek Malcolm (film critic of the London Guardian for thirty years now film critic for The London Evening Standard) and Amy Taubin (Contributing Editor at Film Comment and Sight & Sound) as well as the usual film credits and information on the transfer.

The Definitive Word



Add another masterpiece to the Criterion Blu-ray catalogue and mark it down as a reference release, because that’s what this awesome edition of the 1993 film Naked is. I’ve been waiting for what feels like forever for this film to see release on Blu-ray and I can say it was worth the wait.

Additional Screen Captures


Naked - Widescreen

Purchase Naked on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

The Film
Video Quality
Audio Quality
Supplemental Materials

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