Classic Film Review – Natural Born Killers

Natural Born Killers

Ian Foulger wonders if Natural Born Killers is food for thought or a recipe for disaster…


2 cups Oliver Stone Director
1 cup Quentin Tarantino Screenplay
1 cup Robert Richardson Cinematography
1 Tbsp. Woody Harrelson Mickey
1 Tbsp. Juliette Lewis Mallory
1 tsp. Robert Downey Jr. Gale
½ tsp. Tommy Lee Jones McClusky
Garnish with Rodney Dangerfield & Tom Sizemore

Serve with bloody violence, spree killing, media manipulation, a side of controversy and the tagline “In the media circus of life, they were the main attraction.”

A film that can be served hot or cold but best left to fester for a while to develop its full flavour.

Focusing on Mickey and Mallory Knox who start by killing Mallory’s abusive father then her mother and go on to amass 52 separate killings over three states in a relatively short time. The media take an interest in this mentally deranged pair and turn them into anti heroes, documenting every killing on TV or in the press.

Mickey & Mallory live to kill, pure and simple, to gain notoriety because as Mickey says (when asked why they killed) — “We are natural born killers”

The pair are eventually captured and while awaiting transfer to a Mental institution (yes, they are quite insane) a bungled attempt to kill them results in their escape, leaving them free to roam the country raising kids in an RV.

A simple story but told with brutal ferocity and very bloody (sometimes sexual) violence that shows the shallowness of the American media and its hunger for news – any news good or bad. The manner in which this couple are feted is appalling however it is the way of the media.

It is not an easy film to watch, some of the camera techniques used can make the viewer a tad queasy and   they are perhaps a little overused.

Harrelson and Lewis make a fine job of their roles being convincing in showing the menacing and ‘could not care less’ attitude, backed up by strong performances by Robert Downey Jr., Tommy Lee Jones and Tom Sizemore.

Oliver Stone substantially revised the screenplay with the scriptwriters but it still has Tarantino’s bloody paws all over it.

Whether you enjoy the film is up to you but it is worth watching if only to be horrified by the glorification of two mass killers by the media and what that says about society and the media.

It is difficult to believe that the film is good enough to have survived without the massive controversy about the way the violence was portrayed and the possibility of it prompting copy-cat killings. It was cut by four minutes to receive its R rating in the US and was delayed in release to the UK by the Dunblane mass shootings.

Definitely a film to watch, but to enjoy? Not sure.


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Image from Amazon 


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