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Natural Born Killers

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    87
    from 3 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • NBK's 4K edition critiques media violence; a must-see with Stone's cut shining. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

    Natural Born Killers 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    90
  • Shout! Factory's 4K release of Natural Born Killers dazzles with unprecedented visual fidelity and color accuracy, approved by Oliver Stone.

  • Audio
    90
  • Shout!'s release offers immersive DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 tracks, enriching 'Natural Born Killers' with dynamic sound, diverse music, and restored 'Burn' by NIN, despite some audio balance quirks.

  • Extra
    87
  • Shout Studios' definitive Natural Born Killers release features enriching new and archival content, including interviews and commentaries, blending technical insights and behind-the-scenes stories, with standout 4K and Blu-ray visuals.

  • Movie
    82
  • Tarantino's script for 'Natural Born Killers' evolved under Oliver Stone, adopting a satirical tone and stirring debates on violence and media, marking a distinctive 90s cultural critique.

    Video: 90

    Shout! Factory's release of "Natural Born Killers" on 4K UHD Blu-ray presents a meticulous restoration that meticulously celebrates the film's original vision, free from the constraints of past video formats. This three-disc set, Directly authorized by Oliver Stone, features an unrated Director's Cut alongside the Theatrical version, both derived from new 2023 4K scans. The standout Director's Cut is presented in Dolby Vision, ensuring a color depth and contrast ratio that significantly elevates the visual experience beyond prior editions. The film's diverse cinematographic canvas, which includes a mix of 35mm, 16mm, Super 8, and even Hi8 and Beta formats, benefits immensely from this upgrade. The detailed care in transferring these formats maintains the integrity of Robert Richardson’s eclectic cinematography and Stone’s ambitious narrative structure, offering an unparalleled visual fidelity that accentuates the film's intended aesthetic without succumbing to digital noise reduction or unwarranted visual cleaning.

    The technical aspects of this release are commendable, particularly the effort to preserve the varied grain structures and dynamic ranges inherent to each filming medium used. The video bitrate averages at an impressive 85.0 Mbps on the BD-100 for the Director's Cut, with MPEG-4 AVC encodes for both Blu-ray copies. Such high bitrates ensure minimal compression artifacts, supporting a clean and sharp presentation across all mediums. The color correction effort deserves special mention; it effectively eliminates prior issues like red push or green tint discrepancies, instead offering a well-balanced and vivid palette that true to the director’s vision. Scenes previously marred by chromatic aberrations or black crush now reveal their intricate details and textures in shadows and highlights, a testament to the meticulous remastering process.

    Furthermore, this release shines a light on the intricate details of each scene, leveraging Dolby Vision HDR to enhance the contrasts and saturation levels across the film's varied landscapes – from the arid deserts to the dim interiors. The prison riot scene, among others, once prone to visual issues in earlier transfers, now displays with stunning clarity and depth, showcasing the effectiveness of the HEVC video encode in managing complex visual elements without loss of detail. This edition not only surpasses its predecessors in terms of visual quality but also serves as a comprehensive homage to the film’s original artistic endeavor. The dedication shown in preserving and enhancing each frame reinvigorates "Natural Born Killers" for existing fans while setting a new benchmark for home video presentations of mixed-media cinema.

    Audio: 90

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Natural Born Killers" presents an auditory experience that is both immersive and meticulously crafted, featuring DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround and 2.0 Stereo mixes. The 5.1 surround sound track, with a standard bitrate of 4227 kbps on the 4K disc, engulfs the audience in a dynamic and rich soundscape, enhancing the film's aggressive and hyperactive auditory style. Particularly noteworthy is the depth and clarity with which the soundtrack — a mix of nearly ninety pieces from diverse artists like Patsy Cline, Leonard Cohen, and Dr. Dre, alongside an original score by Brent Lewis — is rendered. The inclusion of Nine Inch Nails' "Burn" in both film cuts restores a key musical element that had been missing in previous home video editions.

    On the technical side, the audio remastering stands out for its clear and crisp dialogue delivery, full-bodied bass, and the lively activation of rear channels during intense scenes, aptly supporting the film's notorious soundscape. Comparisons with the original Dolby Stereo tracks reveal a more comprehensive mix in the uncompressed 2.0 option, where effects such as gunshots and the ambient hiss of a rattlesnake radiate from the surrounds with notable precision. The audio bitrate consistency across both 5.1 and 2.0 tracks on Blu-ray editions underlines a meticulous transfer process, ensuring that the sonic experience of "Natural Born Killers" remains engaging across viewing formats.

    Despite these advancements, there exists a minor caveat regarding the balance between music and dialogue; at times, the soundtrack competes with spoken words, slightly marring an otherwise exceptional auditory presentation. This issue aside, the surround mix excels at immersing viewers into the film’s chaotic world, making effective use of its multi-channel setup to encapsulate the viewer in a highly dynamic and enveloping sound-field. Optional English SDH subtitles are provided in a clear white font, enhancing accessibility without detracting from the visual experience. Therefore, this audio presentation marks a significant enhancement over its theatrical roots, offering a deep and immersive sonic journey uniquely befitting "Natural Born Killers.

    Extra: 87

    Shout Studios' release of "Natural Born Killers" on 4K UHD Blu-Ray offers an unparalleled collection of content for fans and newcomers alike, making it the comprehensive edition of this controversial film. The set showcases the director's cut in stunning 4K, with accompanying Blu-rays for both the director’s and theatrical cuts, encompassing a wealth of archival materials and new insights. Four newly produced interviews give fresh perspectives on the film's production, revealing anecdotes, technical challenges, and the crew's reflections on its impact. Additionally, this release preserves essential commentaries by Oliver Stone, uncovers deleted scenes, and explores the film’s reception and legacy through detailed featurettes. While the absence of a few features from past editions is noted, the quality of the new transfers and the depth of the collected extras maintain this as an essential acquisition for film enthusiasts, missing only potential insights direct from the cast.

    Extras included in this disc:

    Audio Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Oliver Stone: Scene-specific insights originally recorded for the '96 Pioneer LD.

    Introduction by Oliver Stone: A look at the media landscape compared to when the film was made.

    On Dawn's Highway Bleeding: Editor Hank Corwin discusses his work and experiences on set.

    The Scream of the Butterfly: Producer Clayton Townsend shares early discussions and on-set memories.

    A Bloody Pail of Nitro: Special makeup effects artist Gordon J. Smith talks about his contributions to the film.

    Wilderness of Pain: Cinematographer Robert Richardson reflects on the filming process and his approach to the movie.

    Natural Born Killers: Method in the Madness: A reflection on the film's creation and themes.

    Natural Born Killers Evolution: How Would It All Go Down Now?: A featurette exploring the film’s relevance in the digital age.

    Chaos Rising: The Storm Around Natural Born Killers: A documentary detailing the film’s production and thematic explorations.

    Deleted Scenes With Optional Introductions by Oliver Stone: A collection of scenes cut from the final film, with directorial commentary.

    Alternate Ending With Introduction by Oliver Stone: An alternative conclusion to the movie with insights from Stone.

    Theatrical Trailer: The original teaser for Natural Born Killers.

    Movie: 82

    Oliver Stone's rendition of "Natural Born Killers," adapted from Quentin Tarantino's initial screenplay, serves as a tumultuous ride into the psyche of America's sensationalist media landscape and its glorification of violence. This dark satire, starring Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis as Mickey and Mallory Knox, delves into the lives of two disturbed lovers whose murderous spree across the American Southwest captures the nation's attention. Unlike Tarantino's original narrative structure, Stone opts for a more chaotic storytelling approach, amplifying the film's impact by intertwining it with sharp criticisms of media culture and the prison industrial complex. The transformation from the initial screenplay to the final product demonstrates Stone's intent to reshape the narrative into a bold commentary on societal ills, effectively using cinema as a mirror reflecting the grotesqueries of American entertainment consumption.

    Stone's directorial choices, complemented by hundreds of meticulous edits and a standout soundtrack curated by Trent Reznor, amplify the film's jarring impact. The inclusion of scenes like "I Love Mallory" not only satirizes the desensitization of society towards domestic abuse but also foreshadows the reality TV era, illustrating Stone’s foresight into media evolution. Furthermore, Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Wayne Gale, alongside Tommy Lee Jones and Tom Sizemore's exaggerated performances, encapsulate the film's critique on the media's role in glorifying violence. Stone employs various cinematic techniques to create a disoriented viewing experience, which serves both as a critique of and tribute to American pop culture.

    In its exploration of themes like violence, fame, and societal decay, "Natural Born Killers" stands as a provocative piece of filmmaking. Stone’s audacious narrative techniques and the film's polarizing reception highlight its significance as a cultural artifact of the 1990s. Despite Tarantino's reservations about the script adjustments, Stone’s vision offers a critical yet mesmerizing portrayal of two antiheroes against the backdrop of America’s fascination with violence. As much a product of its time as it is a timeless critique, Stone’s film challenges viewers to confront their complicity in consuming violence as entertainment, making "Natural Born Killers" an essential discourse on the impact of media sensationalism.

    Total: 87

    In its latest iteration, "Natural Born Killers" finds new life through Shout! Factory's three-disc 4K UHD edition, presenting Oliver Stone's provocative and satirical masterpiece in unprecedented clarity. This edition elevates the visual and auditory experience to new heights, ensuring that Stone's critique of media sensationalism and the glorification of violence is as piercing and relevant today as it was in the '90s. Notably, the set prioritizes the unrated version, which Stone prefers, though its omission of the Theatrical Cut might be a slight to purists. Adding a layer of depth, both archival and fresh special features are included, enriching viewers' understanding and appreciation of this controversial film.

    Featuring standout performances, including Robert Downey Jr.'s first major dramatic role — complete with a convincing Australian accent — the film dissects the absurdity of celebrity criminal culture through its vivid characters and narrative. Although it skips the theatrical release version on 4K UHD, the remastered unrated cut along with the comprehensive special features ensures that both new audiences and longtime fans can experience "Natural Born Killers" in a form that’s as impactful as ever. The presentation quality is unparalleled, securing its place as a definitive edition for collectors and cinephiles alike.

    Conclusively, Shout! Factory's release comes highly recommended, setting a new standard for home editions of "Natural Born Killers." Its meticulous restoration, coupled with an array of special features, makes it a compelling purchase despite the absence of the theatrical cut in 4K. This edition not only preserves the film’s audacious critique of media and culture but also enhances its legacy, demonstrating its enduring relevance and power. Engaging, enlightening, and visually dynamic, it's a must-have for those who appreciate cinema that challenges and entertains.