Irish Film Institute -Natural Born Killers

Natural Born Killers

Director: Oliver Stone

With Natural Born Killers, director Oliver Stone took a piece of pulp fiction written by Quentin Tarantino and attempted to transform it into a Big Statement about America. It’s essentially a variation on the criminals-on-the-run scenario, except that Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis) are extreme sociopaths who get their kicks from killing just about anybody who gets in their way. Their outrages are covered by an opportunistic T.V. talk-show host (Robert Downey Jnr.) whose reports turn the pair into folk heroes, and Stone employs a battery of visual devices to mount a savage satire on America’s media and its fascination with violence. Banned by the Irish Film Censor in 1995, NBK was scheduled for a two-month run at the IFC, accompanied by a season on censorship. Despite the IFC’s club status, the ban on Stone’s film was maintained when threats of legal action from the Department of Justice forced the board of the Film Institute of Ireland to withdraw NBK at the eleventh hour. Among other things, the whole sorry affair proved that hypocrisy and double standards were still rampant in Irish film censorship well into the ’90s, despite tentative moves towards liberalisation. Even sections of the media showed little sympathy for the cause, with totally irrelevant arguments about the qualities of Stone’s film and supposed financial motives on the part of the IFC being allowed to swamp any meaningful debate about fundamental principles.
U.S.A., 1994. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 119 mins.

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