The Legacy of Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers: A Controversial and Iconic Film of the Nineties

News - 22 February 2024
Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers, released in 1994, quickly became one of the most polarizing and iconic films of the nineties. Despite achieving significant financial success, the film sparked intense debates and divided opinions among viewers, eventually attaining a cult status. In the years following its release, a number of crimes referred to as 'copycat crimes' were reportedly committed by individuals who were said to be inspired by the film.

These incidents, along with the contentious themes explored in the movie, led Entertainment Weekly to rank Natural Born Killers as the eighth most controversial film in history in 2006.nnThe film revolves around the characters of deliveryman Mickey Knox and customer Mallory Wilson, who embark on a twisted journey together after Mickey aids Mallory in murdering her abusive parents. Their gruesome trail of violence unfolds along Route 666, with a pattern of attacking everyone in their path except for one survivor who can recount their story.

As the duo gains notoriety through media coverage by sensationalist reporter Wayne Gale, they find themselves pursued by the equally ruthless law enforcement officer Jack Scagnetti. The narrative takes a chaotic turn when a ratings-focused interview just before their trial sparks pandemonium not only within the confines of the prison but also across the nation.nnNatural Born Killers serves as a scathing satire on various aspects of society, including media manipulation, public perception, and contemporary attitudes towards violence.

While some critics lauded the film for its innovative storytelling, powerhouse performances, dark humor, and unique blend of action and romance, others condemned it for its excessive violence and explicit content.nnThe controversial nature of Natural Born Killers is further underscored by the involvement of acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino, who originally penned a script that served as the basis for the film. Tarantino, known for his distinctive style and storytelling prowess, had his work adapted by Stone and his collaborators, resulting in a final product that strayed significantly from his vision.

Displeased with the outcome, Tarantino opted for a "story by" credit in order to distance himself from the movie, expressing his disdain for the altered interpretation of his story. In his own words, Tarantino famously declared, "I hated that damn movie. If you like my stuff, don't watch that movie.

"nnDespite being a divisive and provocative film, Natural Born Killers remains a significant cultural touchstone that continues to spark discussion and debate among audiences. Its exploration of complex themes and unapologetic approach to storytelling have solidified its place in cinematic history, making it a beloved and controversial classic that is sure to endure for years to come.