Natural Born Killers: The Tarantino Cut

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(Updated: June 19, 2015)
Overall rating
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(NOTE: The editor has fixed the editing issues I've brought up, but I haven't watched the new version. Some of my criticisms and scores may not reflect the current version.)

I am a huge Tarantino fan. I could say a lot about his movies, but we don’t need that. What I’ll say is I decided to read the script as I watched the edit, and not just a PDF I got off a popular site, the Faber & Faber book I bought (and read) years ago.

General Critiques:

A/V Quality – 10.
Great work. No complaints, I know what working with deleted scenes is like, and the lower quality fits the style.

Visual Editing – 7.
No big complaints, just nitpicks. Amazing how many shots you were able to remove without it looking like a hacked up mess (Stone already did that).

Audio Editing – 7.
A few rough volume shifts here and there for new songs, some bad audio cuts, but pretty solid overall. (See scene specific notes)

Narrative – 10.
Except for some criticisms I give below, this was incredibly well executed in terms of following the narrative Tarantino wrote. Of course nobody would ever be able to make a 1:1 faithful line-for-line re-edit of the script, and that’s not the point. This is a fabulous look at a “Could Have Been” movie.

The most fascinating thing about this version of the story is how loud & clear Tarantino’s original concept was, a psychotic satire about the media frenzy caused by a pair of spree killers. While I’m not going to bother arguing who’s vision was better, Oliver Stone or Quentin Tarantino, it’s unquestionable this is a different beast. It’s not the “Hyper-Edited Badlands on Acid” movie anymore.

Narratively speaking, the plot is paper thing (and I’m talking about the script) and there’s little character development. That is something I think Stone did well in his rewrites, but I can see where QT was trying to go with it.

Enjoyment – 8.
Overall this was a great rewatch and a decent fanedit! With some more technical polish this could be a real gem.

My main negative view… There was too much reliance on songs already used in Tarantino films. I had the same criticism for njvc’s “Pulp Empire” and I may have been in the minority for that one. But personally speaking, I would have remixed it with the intention, “If QT really did direct this, what music might have he chosen?” There are a million and one great pop/rock songs from the same genres he loves that he hasn’t used, and it could have made this even more unique if it had an “original” soundtrack. Again, this is an opinion and YMMV.

I will say though, the songs you selected were badass and the majority fit perfectly. And this makes a nice double-feature companion to “True Romance – The Tarantino Cut”.

Scene Specific Criticisms. [SPOILERS!]

The opening Wayne Gale montage and Mickey & Mallory capture sequence was nicely edited, but it should have taken place after the opening scene in the diner, where the script indicates “Credit Sequence.” Putting the credits before the diner scene is incorrect, if the intention is to follow the script.

(Nitpick.) I understand why you did it, but personally I didn’t care for the “Miramax Films Presents… A Band Apart… by Quentin Tarantino” credits. Those companies didn’t produce this film and it’s a lie to say this is “by QT”.

Script has Mallory singing “Long Time Woman” while she’s in her cell at the beginning. Stone didn’t do this, but it would have been a nice touch to put that song somewhere. Yes QT used it in Jackie Brown and you could say I’m contradicting myself, but that’s one he specifically wrote down.

Technically, the Hun Brothers interview comes before the Reinghold interview and the montage of foreigners. But, that whole portion of the script is very sloppy and it no doubt would have been re-ordered in the editing room, even if he shot everything word-for-word, and I think you placed it nicely. (But nitpick, I would have cut the fade to black, I hate how deleted scenes do that shit.)

There’s some pretty bad audio editing in the court-room deleted scene. Everything is too quiet, music should have swelled louder when he stabbed her, etc.

Oops, flash frame around 27:39, a color frame in between B&W shots. Oof, some bad audio cuts immediately after that as well.

Bullwinkle Pt 2 was put on a loop for way too long.

I’m undecided on if I like that you kept McClusky’s severed head. It’s not in the script, in fact he writes the opposite of the grisly violence that was filmed. “Freeze frame: As Mickey and Mallory start firing, a la Butch and Sundance. We hear the gunfire and screams of a small war. FADE TO BLACK. EXT. WOODS – DAY…”

But… in QT’s script McClusky disappears early on and the Deputy Warden Wurlitzer has a beefier role. McClusky in the final movie is essentially those two guys combined, so since it’s already uncontrollably different it makes sense to end with that climatic moment.

Some awkward edits in the final confrontation with Wayne.

Nice use of Alan Smithee!!

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