tek's rating: ¼

Natural Born Killers (R)
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This came out in 1994, but I didn't see it until 2021. It's a satire of the glorification of crime, particularly violence, by the media and society in general, though some viewers apparently missed the satire part. It's also a very weird movie, visually, sort of psychedelic. It frequently switches between black & white and color, occasionally inserts brief animated scenes, sometimes blurs images, and inserts clips from real TV programs and commercials. Also there are scenes done in the style of a sitcom, but which show how terrible the home life was for Mallory before she met Mickey. She had an abusive father (played by Rodney Dangerfield) and a mother (who was also abused by her husband) who did nothing to stop it. (It kind of reminded me of a fucked up WandaVision). So... all the weirdness makes it more interesting to me than it probably would be if it were just a straightforward film, but of course the plot remains the most important thing.

Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson) and his wife, Mallory (Juliette Lewis), go on a cross-country killing spree, which we only see parts of. (Incidentally, the way they got married reminds me of the way marriage works on the planet in my own book, so while some people might not consider them to actually be married, I do.) Their story is told by an Australian tabloid journalist named Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.) in an episode of his true crime TV show. The couple is also pursued, and eventually caught, by a police detective named Jack Scagnetti (Tom Sizemore), who is a murderer himself. After their capture, the story flashes forward one year, when we meet the warden of their prison, Dwight McClusky (Tommy Lee Jones). He's being forced to have Mickey and Mallory transferred to a psychiatric facility for evaluation, which he doesn't like; he doesn't seem to like psychiatrists in general, nor does he care if criminals are insane, he just wants to punish them all. Scagnetti comes to the prison to transport them, and McClusky insinuates that he should kill them during the transfer and blame it on an escape attempt. Meanwhile, Gale also comes to the prison, to do a live interview with Mickey that airs after the Super Bowl.

That's all I want to reveal of the plot; I don't want to say how it ends. I have no particular insights to offer about the film, beyond acknowledging that it's a satire, and extremely violent. I have no idea how to feel about Mickey and Mallory, beyond condemning their actions. But I definitely thought it was a decent film.


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