Trigger Warnings: murder, sexual assault, graphic content
This last year, I have been trying to watch more movies as a way to relax and to learn more about story telling. Natural Born Killers has been one of my favorites so far. Starring Woody Harrelson & Julia Lewis, this 1994 film explores many dark aspects of our society.
Throughout the movie we follow two toxically entangled lovers as they go on a killing spree throughout the country. Both growing up abused, go on to continue that cycle by become abusers and murders themselves.
As their victim count grows, the media starts following their every move and romanticizes their story which grows their cult following of fans. This is similar to the way that serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy have been glamorized by being played by fan favorite actors Evan Peters and Zac Efron. The glamorization of serial killers is a really bazar aspect of our society and tends to put the worst kind of people on a pedestal. Creating celebrities out of monsters reinforces the feelings of powerlessness of victims and retraumatizes their loved ones.
One of the aspects that makes this movie stand out to me isn’t the deranged Bonnie and Clyde like love story, but rather the story of the women lead, Mallory Knox. Her story line stands out as a brutal look into the world of someone who grew up being sexually, emotionally, and physically abused by a family member. It displays what growing up feeling powerless can do to someone, driving her to snap when she feels disrespected. I often see people criticizing her character as the more psychotic of the two, but that was never the feeling that I got. I found her character to be acting out of instinct and in a suspended trauma response from growing up from such abuse.
While this movie is very dark and not for the faint of heart, there is an appeal to the cinematography in the color schemes and chaotic psychedelic nature of the point of view. The movie was an intense experience from start to finish and I found myself pondering it for a long time after watching.
Let me know what you think of the movie if you decide to watch.