Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.
Release Year: 1994
Rating: 7.1/10 (93,128 voted)
Critic's Score: 74/100
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore
The misadventures of Mickey and Mallory: outcasts, lovers, and serial killers. They travel across Route 666 conducting psychadelic mass-slaughters not for money, not for revenge, just for kicks. Glorified by the media, the pair become legendary folk heroes; their story told by the single person they leave alive at the scene of each of their slaughters.
Writers: Quentin Tarantino, David Veloz
Det. Jack Scagnetti
Ed Wilson, Mallory's Dad
Deputy Warden Wurlitzer
Pruitt Taylor Vince
Deputy Warden Kavanaugh
Robert Downey Jr.
A bold new film that takes a look at a country seduced by fame, obsessed by crime and consumed by the media.
Release Date: 26 August 1994
Filming Locations: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Box Office Details
Did You Know?
Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 25 Most Dangerous Movies".
It's obvious that the "Drug Zone" is really just a department store, despite trying to be a medicine supermarket. When Mickey and Mallory are wandering through the aisles at Drug Zone, cleaners and other household products are seen on the shelves.
At birth, I was cast into a flaming pit of scum forgotten by God.
A Truly Brilliant Film
After viewing this film many, many times since I first saw it I came to
the conclusion that this film basically put on screen my feelings as to
why I disliked and still continue to dislike the 90's/Post-Millenium
American Pseudo-Culture. At first I did not understand it (the
metaphors and such) but having viewed it countless times over the past
few years I have developed an understanding of this truly remarkable
Critics over the years have panned this film as a 'glorification of
meaningless violence', when in fact the film itself is basically the
90's equivalent to Kubrick's 'Dr. Strangelove', where it turns the
paranoia of a nation into satire and then deconstruct it in the best
way possible. Everybody who is reading this review right now has
probably seen the film anyway so I won't reiterate the plot, but what I
will do is try and help explain the concept of the film since it's
quite obvious that there are a few people out there who don't
understand this film.
The 90's – A decade after the Reagan years and a time for the next
generation to settle down and basque in the trails of excess that the
previous decade left behind. What are we left with in Western
Civilization? Media sensationalism and the counter-culture of people
who watch car crashes.
Oliver Stone very much plays on the idea of
'serial-killer-turns-media-story-turns-pop-icon' which has been quite
evident in the cases of people such as Charles Manson and Richard
Ramirez. What Oliver Stone manages to do is portray the negative in the
90's, particularly American pseudo-culture in the 90's. You have Rodney
King, O.J Simpson, Tonya Harding, Waco, The Menendez Brothers… and
all these things are linked by a single medium, 90's television. The
sensationalism of the media saturates most of Western Civilization
today, and we live in a world where it's more important to see
celebrities on the front of magazines or right-wing televangelists
telling us that we need to give them money than it is to focus on the
real issues that exist in this world. 'Natural Born Killers' relates to
this. What 'Natural Born Killers' plays on is the question – 'why did
we, the people, turn on to CNN and watch a white bronco cruising
through the streets of Los Angeles one day in 1994?'. In turn, 'Natural
Born Killers' plays on the culture-question – 'why do people stop to
see car crashes?'. It also asks the question – 'Is that guy on
television crazy because he's killed 90+ people or am I crazy for
watching a white bronco cruise through the streets of Los Angeles?'. So
there are 3 questions that 'Natural Born Killers' raises without a lot
of people really understanding them. What the film does – instead of
answering these questions – is let the viewer decide for himself or
herself whether the serial killer on television is crazy for killing
people or we are crazy for actually watching a serial killer talk on
So why do the critics despise this film? The critics despise this film
because what they see on the film is themselves in Wayne Gale. Robert
Downey Jnr accurately portrays the absolute false hysteria and false
machismo of tabloid figures such as Geraldo Riviera and Oprah Windfrey
et al, in his characterisation of Wayne Gale. He plays the archetypal
media figurehead that lives in newsrooms, talking into mobile phones,
smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, watching television and living
deceitful private lives. Another reason why the critics hate this film
is because of the subversive message that it portrays in the script.
The writers grew up in the 50's and 60's when the paranoia of Cold War
was still in their faces everywhere they went. After the Cold War was
over these same people started asking themselves, "well, who is the
enemy now?". Some of them started realising that the enemy wasn't
10,000 miles away hiding in a mountain, the problem was not attached to
a very large metal object that goes 'boom!', but rather the fact that
the real enemy is in the corporations and media, the real power of a
nation doesn't rely in the leader but the television. 'Natural Born
Killers' subversively explains this, that THEY are the problem, and
many members of the mainstream media didn't like because they were what
the film was about.
Why do the general public despise this film? Because the same people
who hate this film are the same people who the film-makers were
laughing at when they made it. When the character of Mickey is on the
television giving his interview, and the film cuts to a simple black
and white image from a stock house of a typical American family sitting
around the television, the same people who hate this film are the
typical American family sitting around watching the interview, glued to
the television like mindless zombies.
Overall – this film is brilliant and it tells it exactly how it is.