Tag Archives: Oliver Stone

Review: Natural Born Killers

“Best” Oliver Stone film is a big fat question mark, and it is doomed to stay that way. How does one even judge an Oliver Stone film in 2015? Tightest narrative? Best characters? Highest quantity of subversive edits? Most provocative? That which, pardon my french, stirs the most shit? So much of Stone’s lineage is tied into his public opinion to the point where he may be the only living director (Lars Von Trier excepted) for whom “ability to mess things up” is a genuine metric with which to judge his films, regardless of whether they work when detached from their social impact. So much of Stone’s vision is fundamentally tied into kicking up some dust and maintaining his enfant terrible status that it may be the metric that most accurately captures who he is as a filmmaker. Conventional analysis may be a moot point; his films live and die on their own terms.

Even though Platoon, JFK, and Born on the Fourth of July may be Stone’s most cohesive, sharpest productions as far as conventional narrative goes, they lack the verve and madman-alone-in-a-room quality of his most characteristic slices of social anarchy. In what we do we compare his most “perfect” films, that is the ones which most succeed at accomplishing that which they set out to do without flaw, with his most audacious works where “perfection” is an anti-goal and live wire experimentation and sheer quantity of numbing techniques trump perfecting any one technique in and of itself. In the latter camp, no Oliver Stone film shines more brightly, for good or ill, than Natural Born Killers. It represents a director who, having achieved the heights of his popular success, decided to throw himself back at his audience with teeth sharpened and mouth wide open. It is not the best Oliver Stone film, but it is probably the Most Oliver Stone film, and for a director who is notable primarily for the way in which he is himself, that has to count for something. Continue reading