Natural Born Killers: Doesn't get much better on DVD
Phil Davetas
10/28/2002 2:02:21 PM

100% idiotic on every known facet of entertainment. Pretentious at every hair-pin turn. A one-second lobotomy in every frame. Oliver Stone cinebates [cinematically masturbates] like a banshee going blind spraying his boys all over this ill-conceived murderous shit storm like a personal dead-on hit to end Quentin Tarantino's career--and for that, we can thank him.

Oliver Stone is one of the great brave directors of any recent generation only to end it all after NBK. He seems like he has nothing left to say. Every film he's done since NBK has lacked in some greater concern. This is a movie done for sheer experimentation and it falls on its ass. This movie doesn't appear to have the violence that many people seem to be concerned. In some cases he almost seems frightened of becoming intimately involved with his characters and focuses more on this one-man bravado to try and save the world one idiot at a time in his anti-media message. But he never seems to get that point across the way he wants. The movie fails on not so much the filmmaking, but the script itself. The dialogue is poorly done and lacks the dark humor that it's trying to convey. It might have been a better movie if they left the original Tarantino script alone. Only he knows where to steal all the good dialogue from.

What's great about this is the accompanying DVD features and interviews. It's interesting to watch Oliver Stone try and defend Natural Born Killers, but it seems as if he doesn't buy his own bullshit himself. It's as if he's talking out of his ass. Not like he doesn't have good things to say, he just seems unsettled as to where to stand. In the Chaos Rising documentary, one of the producers, Jane Hamshire, spoke of chowing down on mushrooms while re-writing Tarantino's script. That's like painting a white canvas white again and calling it art, but --whatever. The interviews are candid, which is refreshingly different on making-of docs, but it seems more directed to the vege-bots that love this movie. It's hard not to look into Tommy Lee Jones' eyes while listening to his dragged out interview, and ask yourself if his eyes are brown or the pupils enlarged. But ultimately, when all the chaotic bullshit is said and done, Oliver Stone has to be respected for taking the risks that he's taken in his films, including NBK.

What's interesting about the deleted scenes is that they are much more interesting than the movie itself. There's a courtroom sequence with Ashley Judd, and Mickey stabs her to death with a pencil. The scene is very well written but unfortunately, also pointless, contradicting the message of the movie, and served as more of an opportunity for Tarantino to soap box about Chinese pop icon, Bruce Lee, than toward the forward flow of the story.

There's also an alternate ending, with Mickey and Mallory getting pulverized by a real psycho. It seems more fitting and truly rounds off the statement of the film: they are victims of the violent society they perpetuate. It's something you could almost buy into.

The "I" Comment:

I decided to view this movie after my first viewing, back in 1995 and I hated it then too. In my film classes many students hold this film up and admire the brilliance of the work. People talk and about it like they do as if it were their salvation. They know I'm a pretty weird guy and they are shocked [near offended] that I dislike this movie so much considering my taste for risky filmmaking. They look at me with a ribbon of saliva hanging from their bottom lip. If it were anyone else, they would say they didn't get it.

So, I decided to view the movie again. Maybe I missed something the first time in all the dyslexic camera shots, I thought. Maybe there was a line of dialogue that I missed that could put this whole movie into perspective and I can re-align myself with cult thinking and sustain my status as a maverick cinephile. I watched it again--and it was the same straight-forward, brainless movie it was back then. There's no way you can get lost in camera shots. Everything is strategically placed so you can follow it. Nothing is left to interpret. This movie is as hollow as a basketball. I even wanted to take another look at the Director's Cut, but I don't think that version would shed much light… and I don't feel like wasting more time on it.

Special Features:

Chaos Rising: The Storm Around "Natural Born Killers," Deleted Scenes and Alternate Ending, Theatrical Trailer, Commentary by Oliver Stone and a decent interview with Charlie Rose.

Other Mad Dog Killer Movies:

Man Bites Dog , Serial Mom, GoodFellas, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Rampage (William Friedkin),Seven.

Natural Born Killers
(Nothing out of Four)
R, 1994, 119 min., Warner Bros. Home Video.

Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey, Jr. and that Tommy Lee Jones fella with Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield, Russell Means, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Joe Grifasi, Edie McClurg, Kirk Baltz, Marshall Bell, Evert Quinten, Executive Producers Arnon Milchan and Thom Mount, Story by Quentin Tarantino, Written by David Veloz, Richard Rutowski and Oliver Stone, Produced by Jane Hamshire, Don Murphy and Clayton Townsend and of course Directed by Oliver Stone.


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