Natural Born Killers Blu-ray Review
PictureNatural Born Killers comes presented with an excellent 1080p High Definition video rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen. Oliver Stone's multiple film stocks and wacky 'stylish' techniques are not always conducive to showing off just how good the video is, but when you catch it during one of the more glossy moments it looks superb. Aside from the steady-cam moments, the over-saturated and fast-edited sequences and background stock-footage, when the shots are right, it has simply never looked any better. Detail is excellent, clarity resoundingly good and there isn't the slightest hint of grain. In a way, all of the (admittedly distracting) intentionally 'poor' grainy footage offers a great comparison to make the good scenes look even better. The colour palette is rich and vivid - purposefully garish at times, particularly when Stone skews the palette with green or red hues. Blacks are solid (when they are meant to be) and make for decent shadowing and night time sequences. The changing format of the shots themselves make it difficult to use this material as a good showcase for your high def equipment, but when the polished scenes come on your screen, they look picture perfect.
SoundTo accompany the movie we get a solid Dolby True HD 5.1 track that is quite punchy. Natural Born Killers is - expectedly - a loud, boisterous, in-your-face affair that gets the most out of this top-of-the-range next gen track. Dialogue, from the mumbling whispers to the screams and rants and shouting, comes across clearly and coherently at all times, mainly from across the fronts and centre channels. The effects are plentiful, normally over-the-top and gimmicky but occasionally quite disturbing, and perfectly suited to provide some atmospheric dynamics across the surrounds. Whether it be the occasional rattle of a snake echoing around your room, or the bullets whizzing around you, it all sounds superb. The soundtrack ranges from dark and broody Leonard Cohen to brash, abrasive heavy metal, depending on the mood (or, actually, often at random) and the song tracks all come across well in what is a resoundingly good aural accompaniment.
VerdictSome movies can truly stand the test of time, the recently reviewed Bonnie and Clyde being a prime example of this. Natural Born Killers is not one of them. The first time around, back in the mid-nineties, this had novelty value from a stylistic standpoint and a cutting satirical commentary to boot. Upon revisiting the material over a decade later, things have just moved on, and the movie no longer serves much of a purpose. And being populated by characters and actions that are wholeheartedly unpleasant to follow, it gives you no good reason to return to it. On Blu-ray the movie is a nice showcase of how dutiful care and attention can replicate the Director's original vision without detracting from the style that he had intended - if there's supposed to be grain, there's grain, but if the image is meant to look perfect, it sure does. Similarly the aural track is a punchy, boisterous affair that hits all the right spots and in terms of extras, we get a nice selection covering all the main bases. The end result is a superior release of this movie - albeit we don't get the Director's Cut, but you're missing little more than a head-on-a-spike and most of it's covered in the Deleted Scenes anyway - which fans will want to add to their collection. If you're a newcomer then you should definitely see this movie once, but it still only comes as a recommended rental - you'd have to be a big fan to want to come back to this movie again.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £17.95
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