In Detroit, a lonely pop culture geek marries a call girl, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the owners of the cocaine, the Mob, track them down in an attempt to reclaim it.
Mickey Knox and Mallory Wilson aren't your typical lovers - after killing her abusive father, they go on a road trip where, every time they stop somewhere, they kill pretty well everyone around them. They do however leave one person alive at every shootout to tell the story and they soon become a media sensation thanks to sensationalized reporting. Told in a highly visual style.Written by
In the UK, the film's video release was to be the same week that Thomas Hamilton walked into a primary school, in the Scottish town of Dunblane, and killed sixteen children and a teacher, before killing himself. Warner Brothers immediately went to the British Board of Film Classification to take another look at the certification granted the film. The BBFC however stood by their decision, so Warner Brothers took it upon themselves to withhold video release. Thus, when the film had its television premiere on the UK's channel 5 two years later, it became one of the few films to be broadcast on television, without having a video release beforehand. See more »
During the wedding scene, as Mickey takes Mallory's hand to cut it, her palm is already red from having blood on it in previous takes. See more »
The end credits are superimposed over a vast amount of stock footage, ranging from the future of Mickey and Mallory, stock A-Bomb tests, childhood photos of Mickey and Mallory, time-lapse footage, scenes from the movie, and so on. See more »
The Director's Cut features roughly 4 minutes of material removed from the theatrical version prior to release in order to get a R rating. Here are details of the additional scenes, in chronological order:
there are three additional shots in the pre-credits scene in the diner. The first is found when Mallory knocks Sonny (Richard Lineback) over the partition. In the theatrical cut, the scene immediately cuts to Sonny's friend (James Gammon) getting up out of his chair to intervene. But in the Director's Cut however, there is an additional shot of Mallory slamming Sonny's head into a table, and blood spraying across the surface of the table. Next, when Mickey slits Sonny's friend's stomach, there are three additional slashes not found in the theatrical cut. Lastly, as Mallory jumps up and down on Sonny's back, there is an additional shot of her grabbing his blood soaked head and pounding it into the ground;
the death of Ed Wilson (Rodney Dangerfield) has one additional shot as Wilson is leaning up against the wall prior to being dunked into the fish-tank, and Mickey hits him with the tire-iron across the back of the head;
as Mallory drives to the garage after arguing with Mickey about the hostage (Corinna Laszlo), there is a brief shot of Mickey raping the hostage in the motel room;
Jack Scagnetti's (Tom Sizemore) murder of Pinky (Lorraine Farris) contains an additional shot of Scagnetti with his hands around her throat and her struggling underneath him, whilst he keeps on saying to her, "I'm only kidding, I'm only kidding";
when Mickey kills the pharmacist (Glen Chin) at DrugZone, there are two additional shots; one showing the pharmacist's blood spraying onto the glass divide, the other showing the clerk falling to his knees and dying;
the scene where the police beat up Mallory outside the pharmacist contains a few extra shots of policemen punching her;
as Mickey attempts to kill the guards in the cell after the interview has been terminated, there are several additional shots showing members of Wayne Gale's (Robert Downey Jr.) crew being shot and killed;
after Mickey has taken control of the TV crew, he 'persuades' Kavanaugh (Pruitt Taylor Vince) to come with them by breaking his fingers;
the prison riot sequences contain numerous additional shots. Four particularly obvious ones are: a guard is shoved into a washing machine, which is then turned on; a guard has his head pushed in under a steam press; a guard is thrown into an industrial oven; a guard is flung from the top story of the prison;
the scene where Scagnetti sprays mace in Mallory's eyes is longer, with a more sustained spraying, whilst the guards hit her;
a tracking shot in a barber's during the riot show inmates slitting the throats of other inmates;
during the riot, the scene where the prisoner throws a stick of dynamite into a door way is extended; after the dynamite has been thrown, there is a shot of the explosion and a prisoner being flung from the room and rebounding off the wall;
in the scene where Mickey rescues Mallory from Jack Scagnetti, there are additional shots of the bullets hitting the guards;
there are more shots of Jack Scagnetti trashing about on the ground after being stabbed, prior to being shot;
when Mallory holds the gun to Scagnetti's head and asks him if he still wants her, in the theatrical version, she pulls the trigger immediately. In the Director's Cut, there is a shot of Scagnetti screaming;
as Mickey, Mallory, and the others flee Mallory's cell, they are ambushed, and Wayne Gale's crew is wiped out. In the theatrical version, little is seen of this, but in the Director's Cut, there are clear shots of his crew being gunned down, especially Julie (Terrylene), who is killed in slow motion;
during the standoff at the stairs, Dwight McClusky (Tommy Lee Jones) orders the guards to open fire at Mickey because Kavanaugh (Pruitt Taylor Vince), who Mickey is using as a shield, is already dead. In the theatrical version, when McClusky gives the order to fire, there is an awkward cut to Mallory holding Wayne Gale, and the guards never fire. In the Director's Cut, the guards open fire, riddling Kavanaugh's (still living) body with bullets.
after Mallory shoots Wayne Gale's hand, there is a brief shot through the hole created by the bullet, looking down at McClusky;
McClusky's death is far more explicit. After being dragged down from the gate by the inmates, in the theatrical version, we never see him again, but in the Director's Cut, after a moment, a prisoner raises a spear, with McClusky's severed head perched on top;
Wayne Gale's death scene is longer and includes more shots of the bullets hitting him;
numerous additional shots of the subliminal demons are scattered throughout the film.
I remember "Natural Born Killers" making a huge fuss when it was released because the media and conservative families were in an outrage over the level of "glorified violence" in the film. To some extent they were right -- the violence isn't glorified but much of it is unnecessary. The movie could still be a brilliant satire of society/the media without going into such graphic detail -- it's been proved in cinema before that sometimes seeing less is better than gratuity. If Oliver Stone's movie has one outstanding flaw, it's the lack of subtlety.
That said, if you can handle the level of violence and take it tongue-in-cheek, "Natural Born Killers" is so bizarre and funny that it's worth the "trip." (Pun intended.) This is a crazy drug odyssey that would have made Hunter S. Thompson look like Ronald Reagan. The film is twisted, outlandish and out of its mind -- Oliver Stone has gone stone-cold crazy and it's awesome.
Despite my reservations about his lack of subtlety, there is a flip side to the coin: It is a story about excess. Stone's film-making has gone somewhat awry over the years (look at the pointless excess of his films after this), but this fits the bill because it IS a story of excess.
Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis play the titular "Natural Born Killers," Mickey and Mallory, a pair of crazy serial killers who both suffered traumatic childhoods and are now rampaging America on a literal killing spree.
After they are finally apprehended, the media has by now turned them into such icons and glorified personalities that the public and media seems to respect them as titans of filth.
This is where the social satire of the film comes into play, essentially saying: We focus more on the killers than the heroes.
I do think it's a bit hypocritical of Oliver Stone to attempt to point this out, as he is a die-hard liberal at his core and, as the controversy surrounding this film's release proved, the conservatives are too conservative to praise killers. It seems to be the liberal media that glorifies violence (to some extent of course) so I thought Stone would be the last person to ever criticize the media.
So yes it does come across as somewhat of a moot point but nevertheless the film is still enjoyable despite its sometimes sickening amount of over-the-top violence (the opening sequence of the Director's Cut is stomach-turning).
The cast is superb - Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Downey Jr., Tommy Lee Jones, Tom Sizemore, Edie McClurg (the rental car agent from "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" and Rooney's assistant in "Ferris Bueller"!) and Denis Leary and Ashley Judd in deleted scenes included in the Director's Cut.
The story was conceived by Quentin Tarantino (and it's very similar to his "True Romance" script -- a sort of modern-day "Bonnie and Clyde Redux") and re-written by Stone (much to the chagrin of QT). I'm not sure which would have made for a better film but, despite its flaws (which are mainly a none-too-subtle message and too much violence), "Natural Born Killers" is a sort of bizarre, outlandish masterpiece of drugged-out cinema. --
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