By Owen Gleiberman
September 09, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Natural Born Killers (R) Oliver Stone’s brilliant and haunting new movie seems to have exploded directly from the filmmaker’s psyche, a gonzo-poetic head trip about America’s escalating culture of ultraviolence. Stone unfurls the tale of Mickey and Mallory Knox (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis), good- looking punk lovers who go on a reckless homicidal bender. Overnight, they become celebrity psychopaths, superstars of the tabloid-media age. What makes their lurid odyssey so mesmerizing is Stone’s revolutionary cinematic language. Shooting on more than a dozen film and video stocks, he captures the surreal everyday madness of the image culture. Watching the movie, we’re really inside Mickey and Mallory’s heads-we’re watching the two of them watch themselves. Stone rubs our noses in our own lust for excess, transforming his attraction to violence into an art of depraved catharsis. A ( 237/238, Aug. 26/Sept. 2) —OG