Two disturbed psychopaths embark on a nationwide
killing spree that's glorified by mass media.
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Directed by Oliver Stone
Written by David Veloz, Richard Rutowski, Oliver Stone
Starring Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr.,
Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield, Tommy Lee Jones
Natural Born Killers is a film by a very accomplished director that looks and feels like a high school student's art project. Oliver Stone shows just how unstable he really is by taking an initially interesting story by Quentin Tarantino and twisting it into a disturbing, uneven, and ultimately confusing tale of two serial killers played impeccably by Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis. Frankly, without the two of them this movie would have fallen apart from the get-go.
While I understand that Natural Born Killers is meant to be a satire on the brutal nature of modern mass media, I would have preferred something a little more subtle. The way Stone throws sitcom laugh tracks, a desert shaman, and an insane amount of jump cuts together and claims that it's a coherent film simply amazes me. The film is criminally uneven until we get to the third act in the prison, which features a pre-Two-Face over the top Tommy Lee Jones and one of Robert Downey Jr.'s best pre-Iron Man roles. Of course, by the time we actually get to the entertaining part of the film, we're already torn apart from the first hour.
I wish we could have gotten to see Tarantino's vision of this film, as I'm sure it would have been better than the bizarre "Bonnie and Clyde on crack" political statement we got from Oliver Stone. Apart from the exceptional performances, this film is too bizarre and disturbing to sit through more than once. It feels like a film made up of a bunch of decisions that everybody was afraid to tell Oliver Stone were stupid and weird. Now we have Natural Born Killers.