ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

Natural Born Killers (1994)

US 122m (Director’s Cut), B&W, Colour
Director: Oliver Stone; Cast: Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Downey, Jr., Tom Sizemore, Tommy Lee Jones

Based on a screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, Natural Born Killers is a portrayal of a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, except for the fact that Mickey and Mallory are mentally deranged serial killers. Despite their seemingly indiscriminate proclivity for murder, the twosome become infamous media darlings whose actions are sold by media whores to a general public obsessed by crime. Perhaps exaggerated in 1994, the film is increasingly accurate in its characterization of the scandal-driven media industry that passes itself for actual news. Stone’s use of unorthodox camera movements, quick cuts, and various types of film stock provide a surreal and seductive hyper-realistic visual experience (Klaus Ming December 2011).

5 comments on “Natural Born Killers (1994)

  1. Anthony Lee Collins
    12/20/2011

    What a great movie. Tarantino hates it, but I don’t. 🙂

    Visually exciting, great structure, wonderful use of music, and five great actors, all operating at their best.

    The first half (before the arrest) has a few weak moments, but the second part is pretty much flawless. My favorite scene is probably the scene in Mallory’s cell (“Don’t go in there, man, she’ll kill you.”), including her fight with Scagnetti (during which Lewis actually did break Sizemore’s nose) and the stand-off, and the ridiculous news coverage throughout. But the whole thing is great.

    I remember when I was watching Nixon, I was wishing it was wilder (and shorter) — more like this one.

  2. Klaus
    12/21/2011

    “Tarantino hates it” – I’d read that as well. Apparently his original screenplay was heavily edited — which probably accounts for some of his disdain. Regardless of what it might have been, i think it’s a remarkably original and engaging movie.

  3. joem18b
    12/21/2011

    last time i watched it, the dvd had an alternate ending, which i won’t spoil but which explained a couple of plot elements and took a different turn. but perhaps you watched it too.

    • Anthony Lee Collins
      12/24/2011

      I’ve watched the alternate ending you mention. It does explain a couple of things, but I’m glad they went with the ending they used. The alternate ending is safer and more conventional — it would have meant a lot less outrage from some quarters — but for a film like this it would have been a cop-out. One reason for the power of the film (like Fight Club) is that it carries through the logic of the story, rather than sticking on a Hollywood-standard ending.

    • Klaus
      12/25/2011

      I haven’t seen the alternate ending – will have to revisit.

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This entry was posted on 12/16/2011 by in 1001 List, 1990s, All and tagged .
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