Friday, 19 March 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 184

372 - Natural Born Killers - 1 star
There is nothing worse than seeing a film that doesn't connect with you and leaves you as soon as you leave the cinema. A good movie should make you feel something, even a bad one can make you emote, whether it is love, admiration, dislike, respect, etc.
This film certainly made me feel something... but it was anger, something I haven't really felt often in a cinema screen. Of course I felt angry and violated by Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls, but that is a story for the time when I have to review that film because someone voted for it enough times for it to make the Top 500!
Cited as one of the most controversial films of all time, I found this film to be so over-the-top in terms of performance, visual style and editing that it was bordering on offensive and nauseating.
There is something intriguing about the film's views on how the media can affect our views on violence, but could have been more successful if it had kept Tarantino's original script which had more focus on Wayne Gale's reporter character and his commentary on the Mickey and Mallory case, itself inspired by the true life cases of Bonnie and Clyde and Starkweather-Fugate, rather than it being a road movie about the two lovebird killers, which in itself glamourises and romanticises their carnage.
Stone uses almost every visual and editing trick in the book during the film; black and white, rear projection, sublimenal cutting, montage, etc, etc, etc but it is just too much. Some of the performances are similarly OTT in keeping with the tone of the film, ranging from the bad, Tommy Lee Jones I am looking at you here, to RDJ's excellent Austrailian accent as shock jock Wayne Gale.
From the central pairing of Mickey and Mallory, Juliette Lewis just repeats her usual Southern girl schtick but Woody banishes the memories of Cheers behind him in an impressive portrayal of a media-savvy psychopath.
Unfortunately, a couple of good performances could not stop this film from gaining an infamous 1 star rating. The chance to provide an interesting and thought provoking perspective on violence in the media was lost due to Stone's technique - opportunity missed!

Days remaining - 181 Films remaining - 234

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