Natural Born Killers Essay

1341 words - 6 pages


Oliver Stone’s Portrayal of the Effects of Violent Media

When I was young the only time I willingly woke up early was on Sunday mornings. I would throw on a robe over my pajamas and run down stairs with my brother to the living room and sit myself in the middle of the couch, which was directly in front of our television. To me the best part of the week was watching the morning cartoons with the family while eating breakfast. We always enjoyed good laughs watching the Coyote try to catch the Roadrunner, and I was jealous of the special powers and military devices in cartoons like ‘X-Men’ and ‘GI.Joe’. The habitual watching of cartoons eventually transformed as I reached my teen years. ...view middle of the document...

To portray his beliefs he uses cinematic techniques such as camera angles, shadows, lighting, and sound. And maybe most importantly characters the audience can identify with. The story line follows two serial killers in love named Mickey and Mallory Knox (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis), who go on a shooting spree throughout the country. The couple is a product of all ‘bad’ influences of society. Mallory was a child that watched too much television when she was young and grew up in an abusive family, she sees her life via a television sitcom as an excape from her disturbed life. Her family life is shown to the audience as a satire of the timeless sitcom “I Love Lucy”, this classic black and white sitcom portrayed what was seen as the ideal American family. Stone uses this sitcom as a template for what he portrays as daily life in a corrupt 90’s family, using black and white film but instead of the ideal family life, this family is corrupt with verbal and sexual abuse from the man of the household. The satire of “I Love Lucy” portrayed a dysfunctional family that is not uncommon to some ‘real’ life families.
Stone also uses the parody of the “I Love Lucy” shows to demonstrate how television shows desensitize children. In all sitcoms, a fake audience laugh track is used to highlight humorous comments or actions. During the “I Love Mallory”, show when her father made disrespectful remarks to his wife and when he sexually abused Mallory a live audience would most likely voice disgust, but in Stones version he adds laughter. Stone uses laughter in these areas to ease the tension cause by the fathers’ unacceptable actions. Stone’s underlying messages in the parody states that audiences have been desensitized by television shows with violence and abuse, so much that it is a laughing matter.
When presented with particular images constantly, one is prone to make popular what is seen. This popularity can be bad when violence is involved. Mallory and Mickey’s serial killing rampage throughout the country constantly made front-page news, Oliver Stone criticizes the newspapers for glorifying their violent killings into a commodity, making celebrities out of killers. After hearing and reading about the events constantly in the media copycats follow these violent actions, wanted to acquire the same such popularity.
Stone is the use of cartooned violence in much of his film. While on one of Mallory’s and Mickey’s shooting sprees there is a scene where Mickey shoots a bullet at a woman, and just like a cartoon the bullet nearly stops in front of the her head right before blowing her brains away. This use of cartooning these violent actions helps convince the audience that the violence is not real. This type of violence reminds me of cartoons that I used to watch on Sunday mornings, but they were no longer line drawings but real flesh and blood people.
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