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Natural Born Killers

The media made them superstars. 

Year: 1994 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: This film is expected to have certain elements which are subtitled, but it is not expected that the entire film will contain them. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Natural Born Killers

Two mass murderers become cult heroes and media darlings. NBK is a horrifyingly, sickening, hilarious intense look at violence and the amoral, unstoppable hunger for it that gnaws at the empty guts of the tabloid public. Harrelson and Lewis, as Mickey and Mallory Knox, are monsters... monsters you can’t tear your eyes away from.

The violence of NBK is so high (over a dozen souls are gruesomely offed before the credits are over) that you become immune to it; surely this is what Stone intended. Mickey and Mallory attain media superstardom and meet Wayne Gale (Downey Jr) a shallow, vain tabloid TV host, whose only aim in life is to up the ratings of his “reality-based” TV show American Maniacs.

After being apprehended M & M are incarcerated separately in a prison run by the stupid, sadistic and supremely tacky warden McClusky (Jones).

This film is continually re-energised, grabbing you by the throat. Eventually the madness and insanity on the screen reflects M&M’s deranged homicidal psyche. It’s brilliant and it’s brutal!

Cyril Morcrette

Oliver Stone had a slight change of tack with this movie. Rolling along merrily after the success of J.F.K., instead of staying within the boundaries of the biopic or the political thriller, he decided to break the mould. Not just of his own approach to filmmaking but of cinema itself. I'm quite serious. So he brought out his 8mm and 16mm cameras, his blue screen, his coloured lights and his crayons and he put almost every single filmstock and format available to use...

Plot: two mass murderers kill lots of people, get caught, become media celebrities. escape and kill more people. There you are. Yet this doesn't really matter because the plot isn't the emphasis here. The emphasis is a satirical one. By taking this little thread, Olly and his pals manipulate and distort every inch of the image and bend it to their parodic, tongue in cheek purposes. The movie opens with a mass murder: one of the major comedy set pieces in the movie. A man has a knife thrown at his back accompanied by a Raimiesque p.o.v from the knife's perspective to the accompaniment of a high pitched Wagnerian wail. Any sense of loss/reality is undercut and sent up by the comic Three Stooges quality of the moment. Think of N.B.K. as screwball exploitation, the Marx Brothers by way of a snuff movie, Abbott and Costello dragged kicking and screaming in front of a large gun that fires and shoots out a small red flag saying 'Bang!' . . .

Pauline Lake

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Screenings of this film:

1995/1996 Autumn Term (35mm)
1995/1996 Autumn Term (35mm)
1996/1997 Spring Term (35mm)
1997/1998 Spring Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Autumn Term (35mm)