Oliver Stone is a man of derision and condemnation, a man who rewrites history to the tune that he whistles in films like JFK and Nixon, a man unafraid to decry the very system that has brought him fame, wealth and power (but not necessarily in that order) with the bristling attack on the media, American and otherwise, of Natural Born Killers. He uses protagonists Mickey and Mallory to lampoon the press (“You’re not even an ape, you’re a media person.” – Mickey; “Wayne Gale? The TV scumbag?” “We call them the media, Jack.” – Scagnetti and Dwight) and a barrage of different media formats to present his rip-roaring serial killer ride, encompassing every little piece of today’s wide-ranging media including sitcoms, Westerns, cartoons, CNN-type news from around the world, tabloid journalism (both print and television) and even amusement park rides, dumping in different film stocks/speeds and styles. The result is a mish-mash of film style that mimics the collage effect of today’s media and very effectively depicts how desensitized we have all become to both violence and the effects of the media on our perceptions of the world.
Stone wants us to think while watching NBK about how we use the media in our daily lives (several times, he spotlights fools who believe everything they see on TV when Mickey and Mallory kill “the only one left” despite the media’s portrayal that they always leave one alive) and how much we buy into hype, particularly with the disturbing scenes of thousands clamoring for their heroes, bearing signs such as “Murder Me, Mickey.” And yet we still identify with Mickey and Mallory at the end of the film because they were, in the end, killing the bad guys, the media and other oppressors. They tell us that love conquers the demon, and we believe them. Stone’s message is both good and bad – it is very true that the media is often way out of control and frothing at the mouth for some story, any story, and his portrayal of them was long coming; but he also paints a horrific but ultimately satisfying (and that is the disturbing part, that we at least partly accept it as “good”) picture of two kids gone astray on a killing spree to the point that their logic seems right and good and we want them to triumph. I don’t know that that is right – does Stone go too far? It makes me feel a little dirty, which is, I think, how Stone wants us to feel. Mallory says that she thinks they should go out in a hail of bullets, but Mickey thinks they should wait for the right time to flame out. They wait, the media goes up in smoke after Stone lights his match, the lovers walk off in a blaze of fame and glory to live out their strange American Dream, and we are both all the wiser and all the more gullible for buying his story whole-hog.
size restrictions strike again. i have decided to ignore size restrictions in the future, because they're annoying the fuck out of me.
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