No matter how much work you put into it, Thewlis has a magnetic personality, you’ll be drawn unwillingly.
Leigh is challenging himself. Starting the film with such a heinous act, he is primarily challenging himself rather than setting the tone of what you should prepare yourself of. The writer-director, Mike Leigh has a daunting task then, to keep us engaged and involved in characters that doesn’t particularly speak with the common audience. There is very little space for him to wander here and there. The reasoning or justification might come off as a pretentious act. But Leigh is a clever chap. His film isn’t obsessed with convincing you to follow or root for, in fact, any of the characters. He just wants you to observe them from a distance. And maybe, that is why at their most vulnerable state only, he decides to show us a close up.
While the rest of the time along with distance, the surrounding or environment too is mapped for us to not fall into them. The film actually deals with plenty of themes, considering the fact that David Thewlis literally goes door to door, knocking some philosophical debates into others. But the endorsement strategy states it to stage the primary physical theme up front. And even though for the most part of the time the conversations are debates, as mentioned, they are often a part of distraction. Look, how there is background score while Thewlis spews his views and how unfinished most of the sentences are.
The real target lies in the physical sequences. The way he walks, behaves, switches back and forth, reserves, embraces and in the end, even releases his emotional issues in an almost panic attack. The writing and execution is, of course, sharp and mature, but it is the performance, the conviction in them, that puts it all over the top and still balanced. Naked has the natural state of the least “normal” routine you could think of, and yet they are humans.