Natural Born Killers – Oliver Stone Has No Talent and He Must Scream

Oh, so that’s what this movie is called.

In case you were wondering why people have a tendency to hate on Oliver Stone, just take a look at Natural Born Killers. It pretty much sums up everything the “auteur” director is about. He goes into full on pretentious cunt mode with this movie. He tries hard to make an “artistic film,” but it turns out to be the movie version of Taco Bell diarrhea. Stinky, wet, and cheap.

Did you ever see the old 1960s Batman TV series starring Adam West? Half the time the scenes were filmed with the camera tilted to a 45 degree angle to make everything look all weird. Natural Born Killers is filmed like this for two fucking hours. I’m not sure if Stone was trying to evoke the old 60s Batman, but it sure looks like his audition tape to direct an episode. It becomes a chore to watch because you know he is doing it on purpose to be clever, but it comes off as stupid, and a lazy man’s way of making the movie “deep.”

A lot of the scenes have weird colors or camera filters. Obviously, each color is meant to express something. And it gets about as deep as a college freshman at a poetry slam. The two main characters are poisoned by a snake — LET’S MAKE THE NEXT SCENE GREEN TO SHOW THEY ARE SICK! One character gets mad and screams — LET’S MAKE THE SCREEN RED TO SHOW HE’S ANGRY! It goes on and on like that. Stone is beating the audience over the head with his shitty “depth” so you can think he’s some kind of fucking genius director.

The weird camera angle and green tint was really important for the SUPER DEEP MEANING in this scene.

As a correlate to that, over half the movie is actually not in color at all, but shot in black and white. Or maybe they shot in color and desaturated it in post-production. I don’t know. Either way, it’s fucking annoying. It’s jarring and pointless to constantly shift from normal color to black and white to single color to black and white to grainy color to black and white again. It accomplishes nothing other than to make the movie weird. I don’t have a problem with black and white movies. I don’t have a problem with grainy low budget movies. But just pick one of them and fucking go with it. Don’t jump around because you think it makes your movie more meaningful. It doesn’t. It makes the director look like a self-obsessed prick.

This is the most normal thing in the entire movie.

Stone likes to repeat certain things, too. And not repeat them as in repeating themes or motifs. No, he will repeat a specific shot or line of dialog exactly, and do it IMMEDIATELY after it just happened. For example, the opening scene in the diner has the waitress say a line of dialog in color, then the line is repeated right away except in black and white. Fuck you, Stone. Repeating it is meaningless. It pads the movie’s length and adds nothing of value. Stone probably thought this repetition would give the movie depth, but it didn’t. It simply showed us what a fucko he is.

The cast is actually all right in this movie. Woody Harrelson does a pretty good job as the psychopathic Mickey Knox who has a lust for violence. Rodney Dangerfield is weird as an abusive father who likes to rape his own daughter, but he’s playing an ironic version of a sitcom dad, so it kind of works. Tommy Lee Jones is pretty funny as a prison warden with a few screws loose. The absolute highlight of the actors is Robert Downey Jr. who plays a self-absorbed TV journalist. He chews so much scenery and speaks in such an outrageous Australian accent, you can’t help but be mesmerized by him. I can’t imagine how much cocaine he was high on during this movie, but it must have cost a small fortune. How else could you get through Stone’s nauseating direction?

Woody Harrelson got pretty fucked up, too.

The two low spots in the cast are Juliette Lewis and Tom Sizemore. Lewis plays Mickey’s wife, Mallory Knox. She’s the second half of the murderous duo that gets started after killing off Dangerfield’s character. I don’t know whose idea it was to cast her, but Jesus Fucking Christ, what were they thinking? You know, when I want to cast a young, beautiful girl who can really act well, the first fucking person I think of is Juliette Lewis. Ugh. And what about Sizemore? He plays a perverted cop who is into weird sexual shit but has no other character development whatsoever. Fortunately, we get to see him wearing a g-string bikini. I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally see Tom Sizemore’s bare ass in a movie. Thank you, Oliver Stone, for making my wish come true.

That was my reaction at seeing Tom Sizemore’s ass.

The biggest problem with Natural Born Killers is the story. Rather than have a beginning, middle, and end like every story told since the goddamn Odyssey, it is just a series of disconnected vignettes in the lives of Mickey and Mallory Knox. We see how they met, the first time they killed, some random killings, their capture, their escape, and them much older with a bunch of kids. Unfortunately, it’s not told in any coherent fashion. Older scenes are never referred back to. Characters come in and are dropped at random. There is no deeper story. Mickey and Mallory just exist to kill. Mickey says he was just born bad, and is a “natural born killer,” and Mallory kills because she was sexually abused as a kid. Other than killing people, they have no thoughts, emotions, or personality. The supporting characters are even worse. Except for Sizemore’s character being into freaky sex, nobody else has any character traits. They have jobs and that’s it. One could argue that the movie’s underlying message is the media glamorizes sex and violence. However, that would really be a stretch, because it isn’t a topic that is explored. We see Mickey and Mallory’s exploits through TV news reports, but they are all meant to be taken at face value. There isn’t any hidden or obvious critique on society.

By the end of the movie, nothing is accomplished, nobody grows, nothing is learned, and, frankly, nothing of note really happened. There’s a lot of blood and crazy camera angles and weirdo imagery, but there isn’t a lot of substance. I think Stone was going for an LSD trip or something while filming this movie. None of it works. It just comes across as weird and self-obsessed, just like Downey Jr.’s character. Despite trying to make something “deep” or “provocative,” all the stuff Stone threw into the movies comes across as a bunch of cheap tricks.

And what about the soundtrack? Was there a soundtrack? I’m not sure. I couldn’t hear any music over the sound of Oliver Stone’s massive ego.

Verdict: Shitty

6 Responses to “Natural Born Killers – Oliver Stone Has No Talent and He Must Scream”

  1. 1 g
    April 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Not really much to say about this one except people die. You really don’t need to watch the movie now that you know this. It’s a shooter-ish movie. That’s it. Go home.

  2. April 13, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Great review. I never got around to watching NBK, after reading this its not the movie I thought it was, Yeah that green tint is weird.

  3. 5 Jonny2x4
    April 13, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I prefer True Romance if I’m ever in a mood to watch a Tarantino film not directed by Tarantino.

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April 2014


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