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Natural Born Killers Review

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Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.

★★★★

Beset by controversy which delayed its release till now, Oliver Stone's NBK is an assault from start to finish. For the first hour, Stone looks like he's trying to equal the kill-count of his entire Vietnam trilogy, as deranged mass murderers Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis) shoot, stab or drown just about everyone.

Eventually, the white-trash lovers are imprisoned (governor: one Tommy Lee Jones) where Harrelson's appearance on exploitative TV crime show American Maniacs provokes a riot which, in turn, allows the pair to escape.

Where NBK succeeds is in being the kind of risk-taking, all-out audio-visual experience that comes along all too rarely, with Stone constructing a frighteningly recognisable vision of America that would have the Founding Fathers weeping into their beards. Right, here's the deal. Back in 1994, British censors granted Oliver Stone's murder-spree shocker an uncut 18 certificate for cinema release, while their American equivalent demanded 150 cuts. But previously available UK video and DVD versions were cut, while an unrated Region One disc has been available for years.

It is difficult to describe NBK as "good entertainment" in any classical sense (non-existent plot, some dialogue is absurdly cliched) and Stone rams home his thesis - that the media must bear a large slice of responsibility for the deterioration of American society -very crudely.

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