Natural Born Killers (1994)
Crime | Drama | Romance
Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.
This was with good reason one of the most controversial films of the decade. Many people saw it as exploitive trash that glorified violence. This was one of those films that many people protested despite not having seen it (always a dangerous thing). What they didn't understand is that the film wasn't violence in the media, it was about violence in the media and America's morbid fascination with crime. In addition to those who hated it for all the wrong reasons, there were many people who loved it for all the wrong reasons. Some of the films audience whom where either not mature enough or intelligent enough loved it for the reasons that the film protested. They say it as an entertaining action flick and didn't seem to pick up on the deeper social implications.
The reality is that this is one of the most brilliantly conceived satires on the media ever made. Oliver Stone's film-making techniques usually have the subtly of a kick to the groin, but I feel that actually helped this film out. The editing and use of montage were superb and effectively drove home the film's statement about violence in the media. This is certainly one of the most experimental films to be financed by a major studio. At the beginning of the film, I was worried that the style would be cool for about half an hour and than wear off. Fortunatly it never did.
Many of the critics of the film proclaimed it to be hypocritical. Its all about the dangers of the media glorifying and exploiting violence, yet it was one of the most stylistically and excessively violent films ever made. I think it works simply because it forces the audience to question their reactions to what they see on screen. The acting is also very good. Woody Harrelson, best known for his light comedic roles, turns in a believable portrayal as a white trash serial killer. Juliette Lewis, who has been in a lot of films I didn't enjoy, is also superb. When you learn of their upbringings and how they were abused, the film makes it easy to sympathize for them without feeling like their actions are justified. The supporting characters are all one dimensional, but just like "A Clockwork Orange", it manages to make the lead characters and the satire all the more powerful. Robert Downey Jr deserves special notice for his hilariously over-the-top role as the host of one of a true crime show that latches onto the couple's killing spree to make money off of it.
I highly recommend this movie! 9/10
Have you seen it? If so, what's your opinion?