Naked Lunch (1991)
Canada / English
"David Cronenberg and William S. Burroughs invite you to lunch. "After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally murders his wife and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in an Islamic port town in Africa.
I'm always dubious when books I love are made into movies. They never QUITE
translate and something is always lost. The idea of filming 'Naked Lunch' is
even more difficult than usual, because it isn't really a novel with a
coherent, chronological narrative, more a sequence of surreal, absurdly dark
and funny "skits". As such it would be impossible to make a successful movie
out of the raw material Burroughs created. Luckily Cronenberg (and who
would have been better equipped to make this?) has cannily blended scenes
from the book with incidents inspired by William Burroughs real life, and
made it work. Very well.
Fans of Burroughs are sure to be more satisfied with this than the more
literal and less imaginative 'Beat'. Non-fans will hopefully be inspired to
read Burroughs' work after watching this. Peter Weller is perfectly cast as
Bill Lee, and the supporting cast are also fine. I like most of Cronenberg's
output, and I would rate 'Naked Lunch' as one of his most successful movies,
and the best depiction so far of the Beat sensibility.