Mike Leigh's controversial epic stars David Thewlis as a deeply frustrated idealist. Disappointed with the material world at the end of the last century, and the impending millennial apocalypse, Johnny is aggressive and confrontational, but also eloquent, sexy and charming. With a virtuoso script, brilliant cinematography by Dick Pope, and a cast of stunning performances headed by co-stars Katrin Cartlidge and Lesley Sharp, Leigh's masterpiece is by turns hilarious, terrifying and thought-provoking.
This is about a Mancunian Jossa Hughes, only Johnny is not just frustrated but deeply unpleasant and has no redeeming features. I don't think it is good film making to have losers in a desolate background going nowhere. The people Johnny meets are all losers and lead vacuous lives. This realism is not entertaining or thought provoking, it is just sad. I pity people whose lives are like this, but why should I want to watch them? The Hollywood formula of: hero meets heroine whose indifference turns to love while lots of lovable characters do interesting things in interesting places; is a winning one, which is boring because it is a cliché, but the opposite is not necessarily good.