It feels studiously surrealistic, an excuse for cinematic buggery; deep in its center there's a lack of conviction.
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There's a synergistic overlap here between Cronenberg's own particular brand of weirdness and Burroughs's; they're both twisted in ways that complement each other nicely.
For the most part this is a coolly riveting film and even a darkly entertaining one, at least for audiences with steel nerves, a predisposition toward Mr. Burroughs and a willingness to meet Mr. Cronenberg halfway.
This David Cronenberg masterpiece (1991) breaks every rule in adapting a literary classic - maybe On Naked Lunch would be a more accurate title - but justifies every transgression with its artistry and audacity.
Ultimately, Naked Lunch is more about the act of writing, while the original is concerned with the phenomenon of addiction. Each does what it does well… but differently.
The movie is way too colorful - cute, in a repulsive way, with its crawly special effects - and tame compared with its source.
While I admired it in an abstract way, I felt repelled by the material on a visceral level.