A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Oliver Stones “Natural Born Killers” is a love story. Micky (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis) are in love; their love is rich, genuine and sincere. They are each others salvation, each others rock, each others purpose in life. These lovebirds are killers, maniacs, psychopaths, malicious, gun wielding rampaging murderous villains. It would come as no surprise to say that they are celebrities as well, right?
With the mass media being held responsible, Micky and Mallory’s influence on the general public is unparalleled. Unbeknown too them, during their numerous killing sprees, they are famous amongst communities, towns and cities, with Micky and Mallory being household names. Society is obsessed with fame and is in desperate need of a hard hitting, real life, action packed story with a pair renegade desperadoes leading the chaotic chase all over the country; and that’s exactly what they got with Mickey and Malory.
The film is heavily stylised and frantic in its quick fire cutting. The smorgasbord of effects and techniques incorporated throughout this 2 hour tale leaves little time to stop and take a breather. Frequent mid sentence cutting, high, low and obscure camera angles, black & white, green, purple, blue, red and orange filters mixed with the strobe light effect of animation, jump cuts and the occasional rotoscope effect add to the immense tension and energetic pace of this already immensely action packed story.
The idea is highly original, developed by Quentin Tarantino, theres no doubt he had his fair share of influence as you see the story become adapted to the silver screen. The non-stop, ultra violent deaths, the over dramatised use of blood, the strange mix of themes and genres blended with the supercool and badass protagonists is Tarantino-esque to say the least.
Both subjects to traumatic childhoods, Micky and Mallory are truly destined for one another, and it shows with the strong on-screen chemistry as well as the honest, heartfelt performances from Harrelson and Lewis. The scene where they first meet is an interesting one; it’s sad and disturbing as it deals with issues of domestic abuse, yet it’s portrayed as a scene from a sit-com, with canned laughter and applause throughout. Take from that what you will.
Mostly seen in supporting roles throughout her career, Juliet Lewis shines as the savage Mallory whilst Woody Harrelson gives arguably the performance of his career as the psychotic Micky.
The star of the film however, the second act to be more specific, is Robert Downey JR. Wayne Gale, an Australian news reporter who is gunning it for the biggest interview of his career with Mickey, is neurotic, self indulgent and is a presence to say the least. RDJ’s accent is perfect as is his performance.
Another marvellous supporting role is Tommy Lee Jones as Warden Dwight McClusky. The reason we now see Tommy Lee Jones portray a slow, old, feeble and weary old gentleman in his recent films is simply because he used every ounce of his energy portraying McClusky; with such a range of exxgurrated emotions and gut wrenching screaming, it truly is a sight to see.
Oliver Stone has delivered a quirky, stylised, modern and contemporary slasher film in many ways, yet there is a strong, original and clever storyline behind all the blood and grotesque brutality of “Natural Born Killers”, it is after all a story about unquestionable love and devotion.