A successful magazine publisher is frustrated with his dreary job and failing marriage and family life. After failing to find a solution to his problems, he plots to kill his wife and children, seeking advice by disguising his plan as a fictional story for his business.
When Natural Enemies premiered in 1979, cable television had still not evolved, and of those few people who used computers nobody yet had heard of accessing something called the Internet, so people were still forming many of their opinions regarding the historical and social events of other countries based on movies. Little had changed in 1981, especially in places such as Argentina, where I watched Natural Enemies after happening upon an advertisement on a small sign outside a movie theater.
Did the Argentinian people who endured the story leave the theater believing that the United States needed to deal with its growing problem of murder-suicide? Did they return home after the movie feeling relieved knowing that the worst of their families were not nearly so dysfunctional? Did they ask themselves how many working people in the U.S. were making a similar daily commute through the dreary outskirts of an old, grey, in-need-of-renewal city? Maybe if the lead character could have moved his family (from someplace in the Northeast, I think) to somewhere where the sun shined, he could have begun to see his life's circumstances as less hopeless.
I would only recommend Natural Enemies to someone who prefers movies with realism, even when that means seeing the most unpleasant aspects of society, because this story can depress a viewer like no other. I would say, too, that the believable performances make this film watchable.
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