Natural Born Killers: The Director's Cut (1994)

Genre(s): Action / Drama / Thriller
Warner Brothers || Unrated - 122 minutes - $20.98 || October 13, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-11-02


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Oliver Stone
Writer(s): Quentin Tarantino (story), David Veloz & Richard Rutowski and Oliver Stone (screenplay)
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield, Tommy Lee Jones


Theatrical Release Date: August 26, 1994


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Introduction
  • 3 Featurettes
  • 44-Page Booklet
  • Alternate Ending
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Portuguese

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.::THE FILM::.

I had never seen Natural Born Killers before today when I had to review it. This has to be one of the most violent, off-the-wall, just out there films that Iíve seen in the past few years. I almost wonder what it would have been like to see this in 1994, when movies like this didnít actually exist. Bet that stirred up a lot of media attention for the flick.

Hereís the basic gist of the film (and yes, gist is a word): Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis) run around killing people who either get in their way or do nothing wrong to the psycho couple. See it turns out that both of the killers had crappy childhoods, and in turn, become serial killers because of this. Mickey meets Mallory at a younger age and kills her father Ed (Rodney Dangerfield) and mom (Edie McClurg), leaving only her brother as the lone survivor of the attack. The duo leads their rampage across the United States, randomly killing people they run into just for the sheer fun of it. The rampage though is helped by the media, which chooses to pretty much give them instant celebrity status from their coverage. Can Detective Jack Scagnetti (Tom Sizemore) capture the killers, or will they keep their killing spree going on forever?

Obviously they get caught, sorry to burst your bubble. You donít kill fifty plus people and not get caught at some point in the future. At least I donít think you do, hopefully you do, if not then the movie would never have ended. Anyways, the whole point of this film isnít about violence or humor, although there is a bunch of the previous two terms mentioned in it. The film is basically a satire about the news media and how they cover things.

The media gives these two killers, ruthless thugs, etc for two bad people who kill others, and even though everyone knows who they are it takes forever to catch them. Not only that, but the media really does act like they are two gifts to the world. What the heck was going on in the 90ís that made people want to make a movie this bloody and violent? Oh, well Iím sure tons of things, and thatís why it was made. Stone does a phenomenal job of directing this flick, and thatís the great reason why itís still taught in film classes in 2009 to this day.

The cast of Harrelson, who would later go on to kill zombies, and Lewis, who went on toÖ are a great duo. They are incredibly believable as the psycho killers who just unleash hell and fury upon those unlucky enough to cross their paths. The supporting cast of Sizemore and Downey Jr. are also excellent, as once again they are believable in their roles as the police and reporter, respectively.

Iím not exactly sure what is different in the directorís unrated cut of the flick, although if you listen to the commentary provided by Stone he points out what is different. I can tell you for sure that a few of the scenes are way more violent than they were in the theater, so you can probably guess which ones they were.

The only problem I really have is the length of the film, which clocks in at roughly 2 hours long. That is an incredibly long time to sit through a flick, and I think that had it been maybe 20 or so minutes shorter would have been a better movie overall. Not that Iím judging or saying it could have done any better, which it really canít, Iím just saying for opinions sake a shorter film could have benefitted more.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

DISC ONE

Commentary by Oliver Stone: Stone flies solo on this commentary that keeps pace throughout the entire two-plus hour film. He comments on everything there is to know about the movie itself, from the camera angles to how the scenes were put together. Itís an excellent commentary that should be listened to, regardless of the fact if you were a fan of the flick or not. For those wondering, he does say what was cut from the original and whatís different (somewhat) in this version.

Introduction by Oliver Stone (4 minutes): Stone introduces the film and talks about the idea for the movie. He talks about the influences of the media and the news on todayís society. This is a great introduction to the movie and I urge you to listen to it prior to viewing the flick.

DISC TWO

NBK Evolution (22 minutes): The cast reunites for this new feature devoted to the film. This talks about how the film was really a satire. The cast talks about the influences of the movie and their respective roles in it. Itís a really cool feature that if you liked the film and want to know more about it then by all means check this out.

Chaos Rising (27 minutes): The entire cast reunites for details on how the media generated a ton of buzz for the movie and the story involved with it. This one unlike the last seemed to drag on for much longer than it should have, but overall itís worth a viewing if you are into the history of the movie.

Deleted Scenes (21 minutes): These are presented in fairly poor quality and will strain your eyes in watching them. The plus side is that these are all really worth watching and Iím surprised that they werenít added to the film but rather on the second disc. The added scenes provide a bunch of information detailing the background of the characters and also a few interaction sequences between characters.

Alternate Ending with Introduction by Oliver Stone (5 minutes): The ending is much different than the original one, and with the addition of the introduction by Stone, I definitely recommend watching this. I wonít spoil it for you, so just be sure to watch it.

Charlie Rose Interview (12 minutes): In an interview I assume that was conducted around the time of the release from the film, Rose is grilled about the movie and his intentions with it. It starts off on a funny note, and continues with more information than I could type out. Worth looking into if you are a fan of the movie, otherwise you probably want to skip it.

Finally, the filmís Theatrical Trailer and a 44-page Booklet.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Iíve seen several catalogs from long ago look wonderful when transferred again and again, but this one doesnít fit that bill. Despite already being on DVD once before, the reissue of the film doesnít do it justice. Granted the movie does blow through the entire color palette several times throughout, itís just not a pretty look picture. Colors are blown out of proportion most of the time, grain is apparent and runs rampant most of the flick, and I also some several areas with noise in them that became distracting. I know that probably most people wonít care about the transfer, but man this just really let me down in terms of expectations.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track isnít much better, as surround use is limited and dialogue is fairly light. Take into account the fact that I couldnít make out what was said at periods of time, and you have a horrible audio track. Itís disappointing too, as in the commentary Stone stated this would be the last release, and to leave fans with a track like this is just criminal. Surround use was really low but even when I did hear it the sounds were faint and dull. Also of note is the lack of ďoomphĒ in the sound category. The gunshots sounded far off and lame.



.::OVERALL::.

Despite how much I enjoyed Natural Born Killers and the great special effects package that comes with it, I canít get over the lackluster technical package that comes with it. Granted the movie is never going to be known for its great special effects or audio track but it just felt like more could have been done with it. If you donít already own a copy of the DVD in your collection, then this is worth a purchase for you. These are killers that belong in the shelf, just donít get all excited for how they look or sound.