All AMC Shows
Movies on AMC
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Natural Born Killers is a 1994 American crime/black comedy film directed by Oliver Stone about two victims of traumatic childhoods who became lovers and mass murderers, and are irresponsibly glorified by the mass media. It stars Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis, along with Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Downey, Jr., Tom Sizemore, and Tommy Lee Jones. The film is based on a screenplay by Quentin Tarantino that was heavily revised by Stone with writer Dave Veloz and associate producer Richard Rutowski. Notorious for its violent content, the film was named the eighth most controversial movie of all time by Entertainment Weekly in 2006. Natural Born Killers was promoted with such taglines as: "A bold new film that takes a look at a country seduced by fame, obsessed by crime and consumed by the media" and "In the media circus of life, they were the main attraction." It was released theatrically in the United States on August 26, 1994. Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson) and his wife Mallory (Juliette Lewis) stop at a roadside café in the New Mexico desert. A group of rednecks (Richard Lineback, Kirk Baltz, and an uncredited James Gammon) arrive and one begins sexually harassing Mallory.
And yet, America kept consuming it. Snoop Dogg sold millions of CDs, video games amped up the gore, and children could quote the grisly details of the O.J. Simpson murder trial as if it were written by Dr. Seuss.
Among this bipolar atmosphere of fascination and revulsion, Oliver Stone made Natural Born Killers. Not quite a satire, not quite an exploitation flick, NBK was an epic, frenzied, wildly entertaining meta-movie that skewered the sick symbiosis between violent criminals and the media/Hollywood/celebrity complex. It was met with acclaim by those who got it, and derision by those who didn't.
The mayhem of NBK begins when Mickey (Woody Harrelson), a working-class bumpkin whose spirit has been poisoned by too much TV, rescues his teenage girlfriend Mallory (Juliette Lewis) from her household. The home, a filthy sitcom set complete with incessant laugh track, is lorded over by a darkly abusive and unforgettable Rodney Dangerfield.
Mickey's liberation of Mallory begins an amoral Southwestern road trip of killing, hallucinogens, torture, kidnapping, and more killing. At the end of each spree, they leave one survivor to tell the story to a ravenous press. Their exploding fame, popularity even, drives sadomasochistic super-cop Jack Scagnetti (Tom Sizemore) to hunt the two like a ravenous grizzly stalking prey, while tabloid TV producer Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr. with a sleazy English accent) tries to get the 'get' with the couple as their reputation grows.
This is not a normal movie, even for Oliver Stone. Mickey and Mallory's scattered psyches splatter the screen with rapidly switching media that jumps from sitcom to animation to cheesy movie set to video to grainy black-and-white, often for just seconds at a time. And Stone makes NBK exhilarating by artfully adorning the killing scenes with imaginative photography and rock music, incurring among his audience the uncomfortable effect of simultaneously enjoying and tsk-tsking the violence. Some critics labeled it hypocrisy, but NBK brilliantly leaves the attentive viewer with more questions as to whether they're part of the solution or the problem itself. It's as if Stone is saying, 'Of course entertainment is violent and violence is entertaining. Look, I'm doing it right now. So what are you going to do about it?'
Natural Born Killers is neither porno nor sermon; it's both, and it works miraculously.
Oliver Stone's Director's Cut edition of the film includes a new featurette about the film and its impact, commentary from Stone, and deleted scenes featuring extensive additional performances (Ashley Judd and Denis Leary, among others) cut from the film, an alternate ending, and numerous interviews and making-of featurettes.