R-RATED Image B+ Sound A Extras B+
NC-17 Image A- Sound A Extras A-
starring Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Tommy Lee Jones
screenplay by David Veloz & Richard Rutowski & Oliver Stone
directed by Oliver Stone
by Walter Chaw Lodged in there like the apple in Gregor Samsa's back next to the spine of the American character is this corrupt speck of frontier spirit, transmogrified in the heat of late-'50s cynicism and irony by heartland bogies Ed Gein and Charles Starkweather--the veneration of them in our collective heart of darkness stoked by a long tradition of outlaw worship from Jesse James to Bonnie and Clyde. The cinematic children of Gein and Starkweather, erupting from the Eisenhower Eden of rocket ships and Cadillacs, range from epoch-shaking pictures like Psycho and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to New American Cinema masterpieces like Badlands and Take the Money and Run. The heartbeat of the zeitgeist can be kenned in this finger to this pulse, in the individualism we celebrate and the establishment against which we secretly nurse these little serpentine malignancies. Enter Oliver Stone, not so much the provocateur as a perverse, self-indulgent chronicler of that American disease--and why not Stone, who's only ever good when he's talking about the United States and only ever talking about the United States when he's talking about anything else. He takes the Starkweather case and fashions it, from a story by Quentin Tarantino, into a work of extreme, fanatical patriotism: Natural Born Killers.