Released: August 26, 1994
NATURAL BORN KILLERS
Warner Bros. - New Regency / R / 118 minutes / Directed by: Oliver Stone
This was a movie that you either completely loved or absolutely hated, from a director (Oliver Stone) whose style and film content inspires the same polarized reaction. I have no problem admitting I fall into the “love” category on both accounts.
Based on an original screenplay by Quentin Tarantino (which was rewritten by Oliver Stone and Tarantino ended up with only a “story by” credit and ultimately detached himself completely from the project and was publicly angry about it) it’s a hard-hitting satire on the burgeoning media-obsessed world. At the core is the strange love story of two completely despicable characters, Mickey and Mallory Knox played by Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis. As their love story plays out, they go on a violent cross-country killing spree followed by a tabloid reporter (Robert Downey, Jr.). The movie ends in spectacularly violent fashion with a prison riot. The film also features Tommy Lee Jones (sporting a awesome haircut), Rodney Dangerfield and Tom Sizemore.
Mickey and Mallory are in a sense a 1990s version of Bonnie and Clyde. Instead of the Depression driving their actions their abusive and low-class home lives are what shapes them and the media frenzy created by a warped society catapulting them into strange almost rock star-like celebrities.
This was before the Internet and TMZ with the OJ Simpson “Trial of the Century” just commencing and being televised daily.
I remember walking out of this movie looking at the world as though it had been turned upside down. Walking to my car, I was hassled for no reason whatsoever by a group of twenty-somethings heading out for a Friday night of drinking and fun which further shaped my opinion.
A 122 minute director’s cut is also available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD.
Love it or hate it, it’s a movie that inspires thought and discussion almost 20 years after its initial release.