Saturday, August 2, 2008

NATURAL BORN KILLERS (Oliver Stone, 1994, USA) A psychopathic love story about Mickey and Mallory: two media darlings whose romantic and murderous travelogue feeds their demented desire to burn down the world. They call this freedom: we call it murder. Oliver Stone creates a self-aware, slickly edited, bombastic, malignant and superficial montage that actually becomes the very thing it sets out to condemn: this is militant parody at its best! The title itself removes all responsibility from the scar-crossed lovers because they aren’t bad by choice: they were created that way. Like the parable of the snake they are only true to their nature. But Oliver Stone wants to take this idea a step further and condemn the media as giving birth to this sickly phenomenon, reporters as midwife to the carnage. Wayne Gayle becomes a guilty accomplice to murder; he ceases to observe the news and actually creates it, changes it… and probably gets the highest ratings in TV history. But who creates the media? Is it you and I? Stone believes that we are morally culpable, co-defendants in the depravity because we can choose not to watch, to turn off the news, and pull the plug. In doing so he accepts a guilty verdict himself: in adducing the problem he becomes the problem itself. I believe that is the power of this film. We experience the film’s reality through the rose (or blood?) colored glasses of Mickey: he is the god of his own world and we are nothing but his victims. This is true malignant narcissism. His love for Mallory is the only cure to his madness, the Cupid’s arrow that can slay the demon. But that’s a lie: they kill for pleasure and attention. It’s this common bond that excites them and draws them closer. Death makes them feel alive. Despite their promise, there always seems to be one more to kill. Mickey and Mallory have spawned progeny who can continue to play their funny games: I have seen the future and it’s murder. (B)

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