The key to a really great "Behind-The-Scenes" book is an impartial perspective, and perhaps that is the one area this book falls short. Unfortunately, it isn't the only area.
Jane Hamsher can possibly be forgiven for not taking a step back and telling the facts without a personal slant to them; after all, she isn't a journalist, and this isn't really a straight forward making-of book (as the title says, its about the producers). What I can't bring myself to overlook is how badly one-sided and self-serving the book actually comes off as. To beleive this book to the fullest, you would have to go along with the idea that Jane Hamsher was the not only the sole reason this movie ever got made, but that it would have been a complete disaster if it wasn't for her. I really would have a problem with that, if she wasn't the one who kept underlining it as fact.
According to Jane, she was the lone sane voice amongst the madding crowd. She was responsible for the artistic choices that made the film great, and all of the decisions that made them happen. Of course, everybody else was wrong, so each choice she made was an uphill battle. Not just because she was the only smart and sane person, but also because she was the only woman amongst a crowd of stupid men.
Its sad, but it seems she spends half the time painting the ultimate feminist picture on how it took a woman to do a man's job. I'm sure in some cases that was true, but she makes it as if the weight of all responsability was resting on her shoulders. She seems to take great pleasure in repeatedly pointing out that she has to dress her own production partner, and shows contempt for the men that were afraid to let her on the set where convicted murdurers and rapists were running around loose "pretending" to riot. She also spends a great deal of time obsessing on Oliver Stones questionable attitude towards women, and successfully transfers those insecurities to most of the crew as well. Whenever someone disagrees with her, they are either stupid or afraid of a woman in power. Those silly men!
Between the holier-than-thou attitude and hear-me-roar male bashing, there was some great info on the shooting of the film, but not nearly enough. And what info there is must be taken with a grain of salt, when you realize that its all told to make her look good (see: perfect). If you want to hear a producer pat herself on the back (at the expense of everybody else involved in the film) over and over again than this is the book for you. If you want the real story on the making of Natural Born Killers, you might want to look elsewhere.
Reviewed by S. Michael Wilson