Stone's Cynicism Exposed in Natural Born Killers

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Stone's Cynicism Exposed in Natural Born Killers

As a hardworking college student living (without a TV) in this impenetrable Gothic galaxy, I am usually quite oblivious to popular culture. I was not even aware of the barrage of hype surrounding the release of Natural Born Killers. My attention was directed belatedly to the movie by a letter from a friend in which she lamented the present state of humanity - or lack thereof. And yet, I still stayed away from the movie for over a month despite my knowledge that it would be at the very least thought-provoking. I've learned that I have not been desensitized to images of violence, perhaps because of my earlier-mentioned insulation from pop culture. However, I was intent on listening to what Oliver Stone had to say. So last night I spent the entire 100+ minutes of the film curled in my seat, my head in my hands.

Now that I've seen the movie, I'm left with questions_questions which kept my body shifting in bed all last night and my mind shifting from work all day today. Questions about life, death, humanity, and efficacy. Big questions, giant_the kind that could keep me in my own world for weeks if they weren't constantly forcing me to look at the world around me. This is an article of questions, of seeking answers, of wondering if, indeed, there are answers.

Stone's film is extreme in every way. Extreme in its violence. Extreme in its visual imagery, flashing hyper-speed bits of reality which don't quite register in one's mind. Extreme in its sit-com presentation of an abusive family as the ordinary stuff of entertainment. Extreme in its depiction of mass-murderers revered as icons of popular culture. Extreme in the banality with which the killers approach their crime.

Perhaps this extremity is what caused me to react so strongly to the film at first. The impact has by now lost its initial force, and I'm able to attempt to evaluate that impact. I feel ambivalent about the success of the movie, and by success, I mean neither monetary value nor entertainment value. I mean whether or not Stone was effective in conveying his message. In my estimation, he definitely had a message. It seems impossible to me that anyone could exit this movie not understanding that Stone is criticizing the glorification of violence. If the

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