Natural Born Killers—Warner Bros. (Blu-ray)
Oliver Stone's controversial take on society's obsession with violence and social decay makes a strong debut on Blu-ray. Warner has delivered this one as one of their coffee book editions. The film follows Mickey and Mallory Knox as they go from one end of the country to the other leaving bodies everywhere. But instead of terrorizing the country, they are creating a cult following. Stone took a different stance with this film and showcased how reality television and pop culture has taken something we all fear and turned it into a ratings game and popular culture.
This is a really hard video presentation to review. The film is a smorgasbord of filming styles and range from hand held low resolution video camera footage to animation. The heavy stylization makes this an inconsistent ride with some scenes looking wonderfully detailed and others riddled with noise and artifacts. Of course this is all intentional so honestly what's the point of rating it? The only thing that I noticed that was objectionable was the modest amount of banding apparent in some of the haloing effects used. Otherwise this presentation does a great job of recreating the intense visual experience Stone intended.
Warner has included a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix for this release and I'm glad to see them using lossless for the majority of their bigger catalog releases lately. Like the video presentation, the audio is all over the place. I absolutely love the music in this film and the soundtrack was one of my favorites in the 90's. You get it all here and it lends so much to the experience of the film. The soundstage is wide open in this mix and there is heavy use of directional effects to add to the chaos. Surrounds play a big part in the presentation and there are plenty of panning effects and subtle cues to keep the mix engaging. The balance leans slightly in favor of the score over the dialogue which was a bit frustrating at times but overall I enjoyed the presentation.
This book edition features commentary on the film, actor/crew biographies and a retrospective on the film and its impact on cinema. You also get some notes from the director. On the disc is a feature commentary, deleted scenes and the trailer. I just wish they would have included the director's cut of the film, but that is owned by a different studio.
I was thrilled to see Warner release this one on Blu-ray and I think they did a great job with the A/V presentation. While not a film for everyone Natural Born Killers is a great look at pop culture and its effect on our morals and direction today. Highly recommended.