Oliver’s Stone’s Natural Born Killers is a movie that, even with its political and social overtones, still stands the test of time. It’s a bravura tour de force motion picture that still pushes the limits of the form to this day. And now, a brand new Uncut Version and Director’s Cut has been released by Warner Home Video, which is sure to delight fans of this controversial motion picture.
An extremely violent satire of modern media that still asks questions 15 years later, the film is a brutal, bloody, surreal and stylized journey along with terrible twosome Mickey and Mallory Knox. Their tri-state killing spree brings questions of the media and its obsession with “celebrity” into focus. Even though this film was created before people like Paris Hilton, or whomever, could be considered a “celebrity” simply by virtue of being on the Internet or videotaping themselves having sex, it predicts a culture obsessed with these pseudo celebs all too realistically.
The story is presented in extremely diverse ways utilizing different colors, film stocks, presentation styles and many other ways, sometimes causing the very sensory overload in the viewer Stone is trying to show has overcome society. This somewhat over-the-top approach to the film only serves to heighten the experience and provides a great deal of fodder for standout performances by leads Woody Harrelson and Juliet Lewis as well as co-stars Robert Downey, Jr., Tommy Lee Jones and Tom Sizemore.
Putting everything together as Stone does makes for one heck of a ride. And now, experiencing this film again in its latest version only serves to enhance the overall impact of this still controversial and amazing film.
Turning to the more technical aspects of the new version, its somewhat difficult to judge the precise quality of the Blu-ray itself. But for the most part, this movie holds up very well with vivid images, very little grain and a solid presentation overall.
It also features quite a few extras including two documentaries. “Chaos Rising” is about the making of the movie but was not actually made during the production. Instead, it was made much later with all the participants having had time tio reflect on the experience. Its a very interesting perspective and worth a look.
The other documentary, “NBK Evolution” featuring Stone, Harrelson and Lewis, is more recent and offers a look at the film given the current state of media in this country. There are also six deleted scenes, including a little monologue by Denis Leary, in the hectic, pacing style he was famous for at the time, and a courtroom scene with Ashley Judd.
One of the most interesting things to me was the commentary track by Oliver Stone. If you were ever wondering about any of the shots, choice of film stock, colors, themes, story or anything else, watch the film with Oliver Stone’s commentary track. He tells all and gives a terrific insight into his process and the film itself. If you’re a fan of this film, and filmmaking, this disk is almost worth it for Stone’s commentary alone. It’s that good.
Natural Born Killers, and this version in particular, is well worth the price and would be a great addition to any movie fan’s collection. The features, quality of the presentation, extras and the film itself, should be preserved and studied for years to come.