Even by Mike Leigh standards, Naked is tough to watch. Made in 1993, it is possibly his most bleak and brutal portrayal of contemporary Britain and its fractured society, rendered all the more stark and abrasive by its extremely unsympathetic main character.
It’s a career-best performance by David Thewlis as Johnny, an embittered, reckless, self-destructive, occasionally cruel and possibly mentally-ill loner who uses and abuses those closest to him, driving them away.
Yet Johnny is also highly intelligent, perceptive and eloquent as revealed as he expounds his nihilistic worldview to a succession of lost souls during a nocturnal odyssey through the seedier side of London.
His encounter with a lonely nightwatchman forms the centrepiece of the film and is the film’s standout scene, as the pair embark on something of a philosophical joust.
This clip features most of the astonishing scene. It’s wonderful in and of itself but if you have never seen the film, I can’t recommend it highly enough so that you can see it in all its glory within the context of the film – and Johnny’s story – as a whole.