Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Natural Born Killers

Natural Born Killers
Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis

Rated: R for violence and a little sex.
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: August 26 1994 Released by: Warner Brothers

Oliver Stone's work may be visually creative and innovative but it has no entertainment value.

The film is one visual and sound assault after another, some in color, some in black and white, and some cartoon. They bang away at the audience and make this a difficult film to sit through. Juliette Lewis and Woody Harrelson as Mickey and Mallory Knox drive across the southwest, randomly killing 52 people. It is easy to think of Bonnie and Clyde as a comparison; but only comparison is Bonnie and Clyde were lovers and so are Mickey and Mallory. Beyond that, this rambling restless slamming of scenes goes on for an eternity. There is significant and graphic violence but the surrealistic presentation of cameras in faces and moving around characters with apparitions in the background and the very limited story create a dulling effect as the film progresses. How can a film be frantic, violent and vulgar and be dull? Ask Oliver Stone - he made this mess.

Stone lost credibility with me in JFK which was his imagined false interpretation of history. In this film he appears to have stepped into the Valley of the Dolls for his inspiration.

None of the characters are given a chance to gain the sympathy, understanding or empathy of the viewer. The only scene which affected me emotionally was when eight-year-old Mickey observed his father's violent suicide. Each of the main characters comes from a seriously dysfunctional family filled with sexual and physical abuse. Stone says he is attempting to show the violence in society and the absurdity of TV exploitation hosts. In reality, it is all simply an excuse to splatter violence all over the screen and exploit violence as he claims to protest it.

Lewis falls back into a screwball character; there is no gain for her in this work. Harrelson, on the other hand, expands his range - this so far from Cheers it can't help open doors for him.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Natural Born Killers  C-                        C- 

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