I was really looking forward to this release and have to say I'm shocked at how little there really is on it. I think what got to me was the fact Criterion released An Angel at My Table on a single-disc DVD and released Naked as a two-disc DVD, even though Angel has more supplements and is actually a longer film. Not counting the commentary I think there's barely an hourís worth of material on here.
The commentary is good, though. A port from the Criterion laserdisc, the audio commentary features Mike Leigh, David Thewlis, and Katrin Cartlidge. I rather enjoyed it and found it worth the time. I'm not 100% sure, but it sounds as though Leigh and Cartlidge were recorded together and Thewlis separately. At any rate everyone talks a lot about how Leigh works, doing improvisations before shooting and then filming the scene. There are some good anecdotes, specifically from Thewlis, and I enjoyed listening to Leigh talk about filmmaking and his personal thoughts.
You'll also find the trailer on this disc, which I think is the American one (the laserdisc included the UK one.)
The rest of the supplements are found on disc 2, a single-layer DVD. The first is an interview with director Neil LaBute. Running 12-minutes he talks about his love of Leigh's work and also touches on the similarity with his films, like the "Misogynist" charges both have received about their work. As a whole he offers a brief but interesting analysis of Naked and its characters in this short piece.
A little disappointing is the interview with Leigh. Coming from a BBC program called The Art Zone, Will Self talks to Leigh about his career and Naked at what looks like a cafe. There's some interesting stuff but overall I have to say I found it a tad dry. The commentary with Leigh proved to be more interesting.
And finally we get a short film by Leigh called The Short & the Curlies starring Thewlis as an odd little man trying to win over a Chemist/Pharmacist employee. It's rather charming and has a few smiles so it's worth checking out (it's also the complete opposite of Naked.)
And we also get a booklet with two essays, one by Derek Malcolm on the film and its place in Mike Leigh's filmography, and another essay by Amy Taubin, which focuses on the character of Johnny.
Unfortunately, for some reason (maybe a rights issue) Criterion has not included two supplements from the laserdisc release. One was a Leigh filmography with clips, and the other was a radio drama called Too Much of a Good Thing Disappointing, but again I assume it has to do with rights issues as there is more than enough room for these supplements on here.
And there you have it. Again, the collection of supplements are disappointing. There's only four things on here not counting the trailer, and other than the commentary, they don't offer too much insight into the film. But I was quite happy just to finally have this film on DVD since New Line was in no hurry to release it. 6/10