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May 12, 2003

This is the movie comment

This is the movie comment I just wrote at the Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) for the movie Natural Born Killers:

There are three different ways a movie can be evaluated according to me: 1. How the viewer "feels" during and immediately after seeing the movie. 2. The art, skill and talent put into making the movie. 3. How it changes the viewers of the film in the long run from the aspect of knowledge, understanding, perspective, behavior, morality, culture, etc.

An important question is - which one of those questions is the most important?

The movie critics mostly assume the second question to be the most important. A typical film viewer assumes the first one to be the most important. What do you think about the importance of the third?

From the 1st questions point of view, the movie will cause the viewer to be "highly disturbed". Many people will simply reject this film, and will not even be able to sit through the complete movie. I myself had to garner up lots of courage to just keep my hand from pushing the stop button throughout the movie. The movie is "real bad" if you think the answer to the first question is the most important for you, and hence you should stay away from the movie.

From the 2nd question point of view, although I do not have much knowledge of film critiquing, I can estimate that the movie is quite good artistically. The movie's direction, music, special effects, screenplay is quite good.

However, the 3rd question is the most interesting for a movie like Natural Born Killers.

The intention of the movie, as the makers of the movie would want to emphasize, is to make the general public realize that proper "culturing" of kids, young people is necessary for the society to sustain itself. If there is no concept of morality induced into people, especially when they are young, they may grow up into anti-social elements. And morever, the current state of American Society is lacking the culturing exactly which is essential.

So the questions raised by this movie in my mind were:- Is it necessary to have a proper culturing of the masses for them to behave morally? Or will they "just understand"? Is the right to expression of ideas by way of showing violence on the TV screen and the big screen more important than telling people what is right and wrong and how to behave yourself? Is the media' role more as a user ratings seeker or as communicator of culture?

Thus there seems to some interesting thought provoking stuff out here (the questions are not new - but it still raises questions - which most movies just dont do), but there exists a PRIMARY PROBLEM with the movie which is quite obvious.

The film might be thought provoking in the right sense to only a small fraction of the viewers - perhaps those who are willing to think. However, for the vast majority of the audience, the film may have the opposite effect to that what it wants to have. It will teach them voilence. The film will serve to do exactly what it tries to say as "wrong": it will show audience that violence is not a wrong thing - violence is normal.

This is a very strong negative, and instead of 9 or 10, my rating for this movie is 7.

Comparison with Stanley Kubrick's A ClockWork Orange:
The Stanley Kubrick Masterpiece was way above this movie.
1: Disturbing, though much less than Natural Born Killers. 2: Artistically much better than Natural Born Killers.
Clockwork Orange raised more deeper and more novel questions than Natural Born Killers.

The questions directly raised by Clockwork Orange in my mind were: What is the basis of morality? Why should you behave morally? Why are most people in the world behaving more or less morally? How would you convince a person to behave morally? Is simply establishing association between immorality and feeling sick enough? Is simply establishing association between immorality and getting punished enough? Is morality only important for not getting punished or is there something higher? Is establishing an association between immoral behavior and feeling sick equivalent to convincing him what is right and wrong? Is religion only for convincing people to behave morally? Can religion give a logically sound reason for behaving morally? Why should I care about others? Is today's politics only about trying to win votes, or they really try to think about the people?

And the basic problem present with Naturally Born Killers that it may actually germinate violence in the viewers is not present in Clockwork Orange because Clockwork Orange shows more cultured and less anti-social behavior than harmful.

In Conclusion, watch ClockWork Orange(my rating 10/10), and avoid Naturally Born Killers(my rating 7/10).



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