Year: 1993
David's Character: Johnny
Director(s): Mike Leigh
Other Stars: Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge & Greg Cruttwell
Pictures: Click here
Screen time: Lead Role

After raping an unidentified woman in an alley in Manchester, Johnny steals a car and flees his hometown for London to seek refuge with his former girlfriend, Louise.

An intelligent, educated and eloquent, if disturbingly embittered man, Johnny consistently keeps up with a reckless and at times borderline sadistic behaviour; he seduces her flatmate, Sophie, before embarking on an extended latter-day odyssey among the destitute and despairing of the United Kingdom's capital city. Towards the end of the film, he also attempts to seduce Louise and Sophie's flatmate Sandra when she returns from a holiday in Africa, to no avail.

During his encounters in London's seedy underbelly, Johnny expounds his world-view (which in different instances seems to be fatalist, nihilist or transhumanist) at long and lyrical length to anyone who will listen, whilst the sinister presence of his ex-girlfriend's psychopathic landlord, Jeremy, lurks in the background. Johnny eventually suffers horribly at the hands of thugs in the most casual manner; and, when the true owner of the flat returns from a trip overseas, Johnny is compelled to leave, to throw himself back into the world as he has ostensibly done so many times before.

It is subtly hinted at, throughout the movie, that Johnny's unusual personality and behaviour could be the result of a variety of (presumably undiagnosed and untreated) medical conditions, including manic depression, and whatever it is that causes him to experience episodic, severe headaches. These conditions are certainly affecting him physically; one of the characters he meets thinks he's about 40 years old, when he's actually only 27.

My thoughts: Even though I've been a fan of David's for a long time, it's only recently that I viewed this film for the first time. I have to say I was completely mezmerized and blown away by his portrayal of Johnny. It's really too difficult to find the right words to express my feelings because it was simply- breathtaking, to watch him on screen. For anyone who wants to see just how brilliant David Thewlis truly is, see this film! :)