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Natural Born Killers (1994)

tomatometer

50

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.

audience

81

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 215,601

My Rating

Movie Info

A frenetic, bloody look at mass murder and the mass media, director Oliver Stone's extremely controversial film divided critics and audiences with its mixture of over-the-top violence and bitter cultural satire. At the center of the film, written by Stone and Quentin Tarantino, among others, are Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis), a young couple united by their desire for each other and their common love of violence. Together, they embark on a record-breaking, exceptionally

R,

Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense

David Veloz

Jan 25, 2000

Warner Bros. Pictures

Watch It Now

Cast

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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (18) | DVD (29)

As a satirist, [Stone's] an elephant ballerina.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is one of my all time favorite movies, and it put Oliver Stone on my list of 'Best Directors Ever,' right along with Stanley [Kubrick].

May 12, 2001 | Comments (8)
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Stone...doesn't know the meaning of moderation or subtlety, and opts instead for something that is excessive and self-indulgent. It's as if he wants to shout out the statement: 'Look at what I can do! I'm an artist!'

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Seeing this movie once is not enough. The first time is for the visceral experience, the second time is for the meaning.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (5)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The main problem with Killers...is that it degenerates into the very thing it criticizes.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Welcome to Natural Born Killers, Stone's empty, manic meditation on society's glorification of violence and the ugly heroes it loves to hate.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It plays like a mad dash across the cerebral mind-field in search of the right mood, and fails drastically at finding one.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinemaphile.org
Cinemaphile.org

At times with this movie the art overpowered the film.

June 26, 2011 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures | Comment (1)
7M Pictures

Bloody, violent, sexually explicit. Mature teens+.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Natural Born Killers finds Stone throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks.

October 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Electrifying, except when it's stupid.

August 25, 2008 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Profane, hallucinogenic, and wickedly satirical, Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers mainlined a message from hell (a.k.a. modern America, as seen by Stone) into mall theatres and multiplexes. [Blu-Ray]

June 23, 2008 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Stone has guts, I'll grant him that; but he needn't have spilled so much of it in our laps.

June 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

An incoherent, experimental acid trip so unbearably pretentious that it gave me newfound respect for the Warren Commission. A real torture test.

January 25, 2006
Fantastica Daily

One of the most audacious, timely, but also deeply problematic films, a feverish nightmare of American culture at its worst, which might explain the heated controversy and legal battles.

January 3, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Comments (2)
EmanuelLevy.Com

Sick, twisted, and brilliant.

January 5, 2004 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

America's obsession with tabloid television and with the psychopaths whose lives the shows sensationalize is the ostensible target of Oliver Stone's latest bombastic and self-righteous exploration of evil in America.

May 20, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

Flashy, loathsome, and utterly empty.

May 14, 2003 | Comments (5)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

[Stone's] idea of subtlety is to put a velvet Crown Royale sack over a hammer before he smacks you in the face with it repeatedly.

March 18, 2003 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Oliver Stone does an amazing job behind the camera, and the editing is totally delirious: it's one of the most visually dazzling films I've ever seen.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

Made in the style of an MTV video...Natural Born Killers is exactly the kind of bullying, mindless assault that Stone excoriates the media for perpetrating.

January 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Movieline | Comment (1)
Movieline

Stone can't make a point subtly -- and yes, even a brutal, hallucinogenic movie like this one would benefit from some subtlety.

March 21, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

This film totally misses the point and turns into the exact thing Stone wanted to criticize...

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews | Comment (1)
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Few filmmakers in the last twenty years have so consistently had so little to say as loudly as Oliver Stone.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews | Comment (1)
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Audience Reviews for Natural Born Killers

I've seen it but I've never REALLY seen it.
July 4, 2007
brooklynspo

Super Reviewer

One of the most controversial films of the past twenty years, "Natural Born Killers" incited a frothy debate on the role of violence in mass media, and how it affects young children. The actual controversy surrounding the film included a lawsuit that stated that the film had incited violence by showing satirized depictions of violence, going against the actual point of the film. The original screenplay was by Quentin Tarantino, though later bought and heavily changed by Oliver Stone and his collaborators, though the inspiration is still very clear. The film stars Woody Harrelson and Juliet Lewis as mass murderers who are also a couple, the story taking heavily from the exploits of Starkweather, the beating of Rodney King, and sensationalized news coverage. Their story, while seeming out of this world strange, is memorable for its proximity to true American crime stories, and the media coverage that did surround them. Robert Downey Jr. plays an Australian reporter with a crime TV show (a la Geraldo Rivera) who gets way too into the story he is reporting on, and finds it all very exciting rather than horrifying. It's a scathing indictment of the media, and their inability to show murder and violence without a bit of excitement, maybe even envy. There's this gross, almost pseudo-erotic tendency that crime shows have towards their subject matter. Everything has to be pulse thumping and exploitative, even though these are real people dying. Besides its core message, this film is also amazing for its shocking use of parody, sex, and violence. Though the events in the film can be the basis for an action film, it's framed so that you feel queasy, that you see the grotesque of society while also seeing inside the minds of these killers. This film is riveting, gross, and bloody, while also being insightful.
May 7, 2014
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

This is Oliver Stone's masterful, hallucinatory, stylish, surreal, and biting satirical look at mass murderers and the media/folk culture surrounding them.

It was somewhat inspired by the story of Charles Starkweather, whose life also influenced Terrence Malick's debut Badlands. Loosely based on a story by Quentin Tarantino, what we get here is the saga of Mickey and Mallory Knox- a pair of mass murderers who rampage across the American Southwest before getting imprisoned, where they somehow still manage to get their (violent) kicks. All the while the media hones in on them, making them out to be veritable folk heroes, with the main media figure being slimy Aussie television journalist Wayne Gale. On the other side of the story are determined detective Jack Scagnetti who is almost as psychos as the people he's after, and prison warden Dwight McClusky who just relishes the idea of being able to bring Mickey and Mallory to the reaper.

This is a wild, sometimes messy, and always over the top film that is all over the place, but definitely makes an impression. It's kinda hard to pin this film down, but, even if you don't agree with the message of how it's done, you can't deny that this film is worth seeing and discussing.

It's one of those bitter and scathing satires, but there's also a darkly comedic undercurrent going on. I'll admit that this is a disturbing film, but there is a point to it, and it's done with intelligence.

Woody Harrelson and and Juliette Lewis are terrific as Mickey and Mallory, Robert Downey Jr. is a delight as Wayne Gale, Tommy Lee Jones is a gloriously scenery chewing delight as Dwight McClusky, and Tom Sizemore is kidna scary as Scagnetti. This film also features Rodney Dangerfield's only dramatic turn as Mallory's sleazy abusive dad.

The film is shot almost exclusively in Dutch angles using a variety of formats including, color, black and white, animation, super 8, 16, and 35 mm film stocks, and a whole lot more. It's all done to add style, but also substance, and its all discussed by Stone at length on the commentary track. Or you could just read about it online if you'd prefer.

From a technical perspective, this film is a dizzying and ambitious marvel. It's perhaps pretentious, and naysayers will call it overbearing, but I think it's all part of the overall experience. The soundtrack is likewise suitably manic and eclectic, and one of my favorites.

All in all, this is a landmark of 90s cinema and a film you should definitely see.
October 2, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Mallory Knox: Do you still love me?
    – Submitted by Baurushan J (18 months ago)
    1. Wayne Gale: You need to keep something alive.
    2. Mickey Knox: Your camera.
    3. Mallory Knox: Your camera.
    – Submitted by Baurushan J (18 months ago)
    1. Wayne Gale: Wayne Gale: I thought a bond developed between us!
    2. Mickey Knox: No. Not really. You're scum, Wayne; you did it for RATINGS. You don't give a shit about us or anybody else except yourself; that's why nobody gives a shit about YOU. That's why 'helicopters' were not 'deployed.'
    – Submitted by Samuel R (19 months ago)
    1. Mickey Knox: Shit, man, I'm a natural born killer.
    – Submitted by Alex K (23 months ago)
    1. Mallory Knox: You made my shit list!
    – Submitted by Andrew E (2 years ago)
    1. Old Indian: Look bitch, you knew I was a snake.
    – Submitted by Alonso A (2 years ago)
View all quotes (7)

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