The Punk Experience Essay, Research Paper
In 1994, director Oliver Stone and storywriter Quentin Tarantino created the epitome of the American masterpiece: Natural Born Killers. This incredible movie was made to portray the 1990 s as a whole, and to tell the story of a modern day Romeo and Juliet. Today, it is a classic and should be a standard for all movie making, as well as film critiquing.
Natural Born Killers is about two people, Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliet Lewis) Knox, who meet, fall madly in love, and travel the west while on a three week killing spree until they are apprehended by the police and imprisoned. The movie continues one year later, when Wayne Gayle (a media icon who hosts a TV series documenting serial killers and mass murderers) conducts an interview with Mickey live on network-TV inside the prison. During this interview, Mickey makes a statement setting off the entire inmate population, which then causes a horrifically violent riot. When Mickey realizes he has an opportunity to reunite with his love, he seizes it, and the formerly separated couple resumes their previous habits inside the prison during the riot.
This movie vividly portrays the 1990 s with its incredibly chaotic setting. The brilliant makers of this film use techniques such as including two different perspectives (visually) in one scene. For example, in the beginning scene, Mickey and Mallory are in a redneck diner. While in the diner, Mallory is dancing by herself to the music on the jukebox, when two men come into the establishment, and each immediately begin to sexually refer to Mallory in a very derogatory manner. This heavily ticks Mallory, so she beats one of the men to a bloody pulp, and Mickey slashes up the other. When Mallory is sitting on top of the man jumping on his back and pounding his head on the floor, there are two perspectives. The first is that of the man, which shows Mallory completely straight faced and silent while beating him, and the second being that of Mallory herself with a barbaric look on her face while she is screaming at the top of her lungs in a Xena type yell. This first presents the chaotic mindset of the 1990 s by presenting chaos on the screen. This technique was used several other times as well. Along with this, interjected between dialogue frequently are disturbing images (some animated, others real) of demons, bloody headless walking corpses, domestic violence, and other such things.
Another way NBK portrays the 1990 s is by showing Mallory s adolescence just prior to meeting Mickey as a parody of the well-known TV sitcom, I Love Lucy . This showed the idea that the typical American in the 1990 s was fed by TV, and felt emotions when he/she was told to. The domestic violence and sexual molestation occurring in her household was laughed at as if it were a sitcom, despite its atrocious nature. This represents the apathy millions of people feel toward many very serious and frighteningly common problems in our society during that decade.
NBK is unfortunately popularly recognized as a film about a couple of mass murderers. Few people realize that it actually is an incredibly romantic love story, very similar to that of Romeo and Juliet. Mickey and Mallory fall in love and begin to see each other without the consent of Mallory s parents. This is almost exactly the same as when Romeo and Juliet fall in love despite the feuding families. They travel together, and they refuse to let anyone get in between them. This is why they (in the beginning of the movie) kill Mallory s parents; because they forbid Mallory to see Mickey. That is incredibly romantic, and is a crucial element to a classic love story such as this one. When they were imprisoned, they were torn apart by the law and never allowed to see each other, just like Romeo and Juliet. During the riot, they finally reunite despite what everyone else told them, again, just like Romeo and Juliet.
Natural Born Killers is a perfect representation of the 1990 s, and is truly a classic love story, not a tale of a gruesome murdering spree. The chaotic mood of the film, as well as the underlying plot of a love story makes for an absolutely incredible and exciting movie. It is sets standards that every movie should measure up to.