Thursday, October 24, 2013

#tbt Natural Born Killers review

Sometimes when a man loves a woman very much they go on a cross country murder spree, killing anyone that irritates them in the slightest way. Wait, that's not right at all.
Way back in ol' 1994 filmmaker Oliver Stone made a little movie called Natural Born Killers. It's about two lovers named Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis). Both had very traumatic childhoods, and both have developed a certain bloodthirstiness that can only be satisfied by murder. They are quickly turned into stars, almost idols, by the media. Particularly Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.), who looks upon Mickey and Mallory as legends who can boost his ratings. The film documents their (fictional) crime spree through a very trippy directing job by Oliver Stone. Quentin Tarantino originally wrote the screenplay, but it was vastly changed by Stone, David Veloz, and Richard Rutowski. Thus Tarantino only got a story credit here. But a few of his trademarks are still present (i.e. it being very violent and a Mexican standoff being held towards the end). There was an outrage against the film for being way too violent when it came out. People said that it promoted violence. Yet, the movie actually does the opposite. If simply glance at the film, you would just see the violence and nothing past that. Yet, if you really watch it, you can see this is actually a pretty smart movie. Oliver Stone got a Golden Globe nod for Best Director here. I can see why. Natural Born Killers is a cinematic fever dream of an insane person. That's one reason that makes the film so damn cool! Certain scenes are shot in 35mm and Super 8, while others are given a strange grainy feel or put through a color filter. Not just the look of the movie is strange. There are some parts that feel as if it's all part of some bad drug trip or weird dream. At one point in the motel Mickey and Mallory are staying at, the images of the television are being projected onto the motel window. Another scene in the film is shot and edited as if it's a sitcom with a laugh track, while the scene is depicting Mallory's father abusing both her and her mother. It's strange, but it is effective in showing how Mallory's childhood was and it really solidifies the scene in your mind. You've got to hand it to Stone for really being creative with his direction here. Oliver Stone isn't generally known as an auteur director like say, Wes Anderson or Quentin Tarantino. Yet, this movie is perfect proof he could be. I am a pretty big Oliver Stone fan. I loved Born on the Fourth of July and JFK, and of course Platoon was great. Natural Born Killers may not be as good as those, but it comes close. Partially because of the direction, but also because of the acting. I really enjoy Juliette Lewis' acting. I think she is an underrated actress. She was terrific in Cape Fear and What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Personally, I think her performance here is her best yet. She plays Mallory with such a wicked fascination, she seems just to be a teenager who because of being all messed up as a kid, took her "rebellious' stage a bit too far. Woody Harrelson is great too. He's driven by his hatred but also by his love for Mallory. Harrelson portrays his character to near perfection. The best part of the film is how it shows how the killers became celebrities. Everyone knows that they're murderers, yet they think they are cool and the idolize them. At one point in the movie someone says, "If I could be a mass murderer, I'd be Mickey & Mallory!" It just shows how distorted these things can get. I personally think Natural Born Killers is an underrated classic. while it's not Oliver Stone's best, it's still pretty good. Happy Throwback Thursday and Happy Viewing! You can follow me on Twitter @WhitsMovies and like me on Facebook at!


  1. Nice review, Whit. It's been a long while since I've seen this one, but I've been meaning to get to it again, and some of the things you mentioned about this movie may have just pushed it up my list to get to. Certainly an interesting one, if a bit disturbing at times.

    1. Thanks man. It's certainly worth seeing if you really pay attention to everything. And yes, it's incredibly disturbing.