Despite the fact that this über violent film was a little bit of a mess (both due to the gore and to the way it was filmed) it still became a cult favourite. North America's obsession with both voyeurism and violence from the dark recesses of the minds of director/writer Oliver Stone (World Trade Center, Alexander) and co-writer Quentin Tarentino (Inglorious Basterds, Reservoir Dogs)… what could be better?
Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson – from television's Cheers) is a delivery boy and he falls hard for one of his customers. Mallory (Juliette Lewis – Catch and Release, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?) is a victim of her abusive father (Rodney Dangerfield – Little Nicky, Ladybugs), but once Mickey comes into her life that comes to an end. The abuse ends because the two of them kill him and her mother (Edie McClurg – Fired Up!, Cars) who allowed the abuse to go on.
The two disturbed lovebirds then take off on a cross-country trip along Route 666. They embark on a "for the hell of it" trip of mayhem and murder. This is not about revenge or money, but rather for kicks. Every few miles they stop and kill everyone in their path.
Of course, their murderous trip catches the attention of the police and media and soon they are being hunted down by the equally unscrupulous Detective Jack Scagnetti (Tom Sizemore – Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor) and featured in interviews by reporter Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr – Ironman, The Soloist).
As I said, the film is a bit of a mess and it most certainly isn't one of the stronger films on either Stone's or Tarentino roster, but it still has its worth. The most interesting aspect of the film is that it does not glorify violence, rather it cast light in a chilling way on how our society is obsessed with watching violence. We claim to be horrified, but cannot seem to look away. The film is a parody of violent films. The two lead characters have no redeeming characteristics and are not meant to be likable. Anyone upset or turned off by the violence is not really getting the message.
The whole point of the film is not to focus on the violence or the two killers, but rather how enraptured the public gets with them. It is set up to almost be a warning of where we are going as a society.
On the other hand, not getting the message is almost understandable as it is quite garbled in the film. In his very pompous way Oliver Stone infuses a spirit of "I've made a classic film" into almost every frame of the film. It is not a classic. Far from it! It is a good portrayal of the shallowness of our "modern" society, but with too many faults to have it make a lasting impression on cinemagoers.
-New Introduction by Oliver Stone
-Chaos Rising: The Storm Around Natural Born Killers
-Charlie Rose Interview of Oliver Stone