Blu-Ray Review: ‘Natural Born Killers’ Still Resonates Years Later

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CHICAGO – Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers” is easily one of the best films of the ’90s, an experimental, daring, visually mesmerizing study of not just violence but America’s obsession with it. At the peak of his directorial abilities, one of the best filmmakers of the ’80s and ’90s turned his lens on the way we turn evil people into tabloid heroes and he did it with such vibrant style that “NBK” has just as much resonance as it did fifteen years ago.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis star as Mickey and Mallory Knox, a pair of love-crossed serial killers who have upgraded the exploits of Bonnie and Clyde for a new generation. Their dark pasts of fire and gasoline have exploded into the kind of story that journalists and TV shows dream about. Robert Downey Jr. co-stars as a journalist whose attention feed the murders of Mickey and Mallory as much as anything and Tommy Lee Jones arrives late as a lunatic warden.

Natural Born Killers was released on Blu-Ray on October 13th, 2009.
Natural Born Killers was released on Blu-Ray on October 13th, 2009.
Photo credit: Warner Brothers Home Video

The performances in “NBK” are uniformly good but, watching the film again on Blu-Ray, one is struck by the technical accomplishments of the film. Stone’s regular collaborator Robert Richardson shoots the film with so many different styles and stocks that it feels timeless. The elements that are missing from “NBK” - cell phones, the internet - are the only things that date the film at all. Otherwise, it feels like it could have come out this year, something that cannot be said about most 1994 releases.

Natural Born Killers was released on Blu-Ray on October 13th, 2009.
Natural Born Killers was released on Blu-Ray on October 13th, 2009.
Photo credit: Warner Brothers Home Video

And it’s not just Richardson’s decisions. Stone’s incredible use of music, Quentin Tarantino’s original story and the screenplay it was adapted into by Stone and his co-writers, the perfectly paced editing - “Natural Born Killers” is even better than you remember.

And it may be different than you remember in this version. The recently released Blu-Ray version is the “Original Uncut” one. This cut has been floating around for years and is pretty widely known as the definitive version of the film but if you haven’t seen it since the theaters, it’s about four minutes different. Of course, with the amount of quick cuts and shots in “NBK,” four minutes amounts to dozens of changes, beautifully chronicled here if you’re curious.

Fans often make the mistake of thinking that some of the more notorious deleted scenes have been reinserted into this director’s cut version of the film, including material with Ashley Judd and Denis Leary. Of course, that’s not the case, but they are included in interesting deleted scenes, most interesting because every single piece of cut footage deserved to be on the cutting room floor. They’re all worth watching, but correctly cut.

As for new supporting material, the Blu-Ray edition of “Natural Born Killers” includes a new featurette called “NBK Evolution: How Would It All Go Down Now?”. The mini-doc features interviews with Harrelson, Lewis, Stone, and many more personalities discussing how Mickey and Mallory Knox might be different in 2009. One word - internet. Facebook and Twitter executives appear to ponder how the pair might use their sites and even tabloid personalities like Tila Tequila and Joey Buttafuoco contemplate the intriguing what if of “NBK” in an era even more obsessed with instant celebrity. It’s an interesting featurette.

Even more interesting is a great commentary track from Stone and a 44-page booklet included in the case for the Blu-Ray. Other special features include the trailer and a vintage Charlie Rose interview with Stone.

As for the film itself, it looks absolutely remarkable in HD with a perfect 1080P transfer from Warner Bros. The audio matches the video in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The film has never looked or sounded better.

‘Natural Born Killers’ is released by Warner Brothers Home Video and stars Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Sizemore, and Tommy Lee Jones. It was written by David Veloz & Richard Rutowski & Oliver Stone from a story by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Stone. The film was released on Blu-ray on October 13th, 2009. It is not rated.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Anonymous's picture

------CAP----Stone

—-Stone’s work, ALLL of it, is cunningly demoralizing,
and, whether he’s aware of it or not, celebrating
depravity and advancing the capstone age—enda.

NO where in Stone do we find the set battle of
good men against evil. Never does he push us through
any spiritual threshold —and beyond. NEVER.

And, as a former Yalie and son of Wall Street,
he’s NEVER said a word about our 4 decades underway
Globalist RED China TREASON OP.

He, and franchise slum Hollywood, have maintained
TOTAL SILENCE on the yet unfolding. ‘EUGENICS friendly’
RED Chinese Halocaut.

FINALLY, he, and Hollywood, have deliberately BALKED
the —20th —30th —40th —50th —and NOW 60th
Anniversaries of the awesomely relevant

——————————KOREAN WAR————————————

——Get the picture?

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