The Hidden Side
Shake Things Up
The Real Thing
Delusions Of Grandeur
Don’t Dream It’s Over
A Sexual Revolution
Based on a true story, The Naked Director is an 8 episode semi-biographical series based on the life of provocative Japanese legend Toru Muranishi. Well-paced, peppered with explicit content and armed with an eclectic soundtrack, Netflix’s latest drama does a great job depicting the trials and tribulations of this interesting and enigmatic character.
On a mission to turn the taboo perceptions around the Japanese porn industry upside down, the story here sees Toru Muranishi combat adversity and scrutiny as he carves out a life in the porn industry, after his previous life falls apart before his eyes. Although the story isn’t always wholly accurate 100% of the time, and some events have been overly dramatized for the sake of the serialized format, for the most part the story is faithful to the events that took place in Muranishi’s life and his personality certainly shines here.
The first episode acts as a gateway into this industry, with Muranishi beginning with a profound lack of confidence and drive as he faces an unsatisfying home life and professional scrutiny. After overcoming his own insecurities, the first episode shows the highs and lows of his early life before throwing him headfirst into the porn industry and all the issues that came with that back in the 1980’s. Interestingly, the show does feature a few flashbacks as well, with a desaturated colour palette and more light on his troubled childhood.
For the most part though, the 80’s are accurately depicted here, with a great use of colour and music throughout the series. Blending elements of electronica and rock, The Naked Director’s aesthetic complements the soundtrack nicely. It helps too that there’s some really slick camera work here, including rotating movements and some nice tracking shots throughout the 8 episodes.
Although The Naked Director primarily revolves around Muranishi’s life, it works equally as well to show the cultural movement through the adult industry as people move away from magazines and into the realm of video. It’s beautifully depicted here, especially given his prison sentence during the time and coming out to find a changed world. While some may see this show as a tad too explicit, The Naked Director does well to keep the show stylistically strong, as well as intentionally shocking.
If you’re a fan of biographical films and want to learn more about the cultural movement of the porn industry in Japan back in the 80’s, The Naked Director is well worth a watch. Its 8 episodes are nicely paced, Muranishi himself is easy to warm to, and the story itself accurate to the true events that took place during this time. There’s no doubt some will be put off from the explicit content here but if you can look past that, there’s a well written, absorbing biopic here well worth a watch.
Verdict - 8/10