"Just before PULP FICTION would make him a household name, Quentin Tarantino wrote the blood-spattered story that inspired director Oliver Stone's NATURAL BORN KILLERS. Tarantino's second tale of lovers on the run (after 1993's TRUE ROMANCE) ignited worldwide controversy for what many saw as nothing more than the glorification of violence and destruction. Unlike TRUE ROMANCE's generally sweet-natured Clarence and Alabama, Mickey and Mallory Knox (as played by Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) were cold-blooded, deranged and mostly merciless.
In 1994, a time in which the only major "reality show" was MTV's THE REAL WORLD, Tarantino envisioned a society in which mindless millions eagerly devoured a steady diet of exploitation, sleaze, brutality and shamelessly self-promoting, self-declared celebrities. That's the environment in which NATURAL BORN KILLERS takes place, and it's a dizzying jumble of images, sound bytes, fragments of TV commercials, samples of music and anything else Stone can throw at us. Beginning with a whirlwind courtship that's depicted in mock-sitcom-style (complete with Rodney Dangerfield as Mallory's slovenly dad, who tossess off one-liners like "Two pounds lighter, you'll be Miss Ethiopia!" as casually as he makes cracks about incest and wife-beating), Mickey and Mallory immediately begin living up to their billing as they cruise across in America in a 1970 Dodge Charger, leaving a trail of corpses in their wake. They are followed by Australian TV host Wayne Gale (Robert Downey, Jr.), who turns them into living legends on his "American Maniacs" show. The killer couple's journey down Route 666 becomes, in Gale's telling, "a candy lane of murder and mayhem," and viewers eat it up.
Switching back and forth between color and black-and-white, between vicious satire and shocking horror, Stone constantly plays with our expectations: cartoonish themes and kooky sound effects accompany savage murders; Mickey and Mallory's car seems to roar through fields of giant dandelions, skies full of fireworks, even through the flames of Hell; bullets hang in mid-air and airborne meat cleavers travel in slow-motion as they find their targets, etc. NATURAL BORN KILLERS scared the bejesus out of moviegoers in 1994; today, as we all deal with daily bombardments of media and messages through the Internet and our iPhones, when mass shootings are analyzed and scrutinized endlessly in the name of "news," it's impossible to deny that this relentlessly audacious film was made by people who saw the crazy world to come."