Natural Born Killers

Natural Born 90s Style: Natural Born Killers and the 90s Film Aesthetic College

Oliver Stone’s film Natural Born Killers is an exemplar of the 1990s. This is because of several reasons. First, the film utilizes editing techniques that are evocative of the heyday of MTV (itself a 1980s phenomenon, although that is a topic for another paper). Second, its self-conscious and self-reflexive engagement with the apparatus of media makes for a compelling examination of the common discourses surrounding mass media in the 1990s. This essay explores how Natural Born Killers is inherently and specifically a “1990s” film in terms of its editing style, content, and message.

Natural Born Killers is the story of the romance between Mickey and Mallory, as well as of the romance between media and violence. The film’s entire affect is one of pastiche and parody, however. The film opens with Mickey and Mallory attacking and robbing a small diner. The dynamic in the excessively violent scene sets the tone for the rest of the film: the lines in which Mickey and Mallory spare one individual if he agrees to “tell their story” are not done in order to generate sympathy, but to ensure that they are developing fame. The film opens with generic, black and white images of geographical aspects of the setting (such as animals, the road,...

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