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Thursday, January 17, 2013

66 of 1001 Movie: Badlands (1973)

You couldn't find a better guy to play a weird guy outside of Martin Sheen. He's becoming a favorite actor of mine where just seeing his name on a movie will cause me to watch it. If you haven't watched Terrence Malick's older work then do that before picking up The Tree of Life. While the similar suburb settings can be noticed in both movies they both have different levels of likability. Malick shows he likes green, and lots of outdoor shots even before the HD was around to truly show us it in the best form.

Kit is a garbageman who is just going about life in a pretty chill way. He doesn't seem to bother anyone even though there is something a little off about him. He meets Holly, and not long after a romance begins to swirl between them. They have a lot of fun until Holly's dad is out to stop their time together. Kit isn't going to let that happen though, so after committing his first murder, by killing Holly's dad, he sets off cross-country with Holly running from the police. Along the way though the duo will leave a trail of murders.


There is something about this movie that just builds up slowly. It's like it is patient with everything, and almost too chill just like Kit is. The very odd backing soundtrack helps too. While the movie is very calm with all the horrific happenings the music has this chaotic sound to it. This helps builds the intensity to the final scenes. Also, since the main two characters are emotionless you really don't know how to feel about them. Everyone seems to love Kit because there is something his personality that draws people, which explains how he got a 15 year old to just follow him around the country.

Martin Sheen would show he act later in the movie Apocalypse Now, which gets a lot more talks than Badlands, but this one shows his potential. He's a cool character in this one who just seems to be an apathetic psycho. Even with his scenes showing him dating Holly he doesn't seem to have many emotions regarding their relationship with each other, and neither does she really. She talks of finding a husband that isn't him once getting out of that situation, maybe because her self esteem was built by Kit. She didn't seem too hopeful about people liking her before that. Sissy Spacek as Holly does great too though. Spacek herself would go on to play Carrie in well Carrie. Obviously she has a knack for playing the odd outcast.

Because this movie is based loosely on a true story that helps get your interest even more. To know that some of these events really did take place in 1958 is sort of scary, and interesting to think about. While it may have been an interesting movie without that it is further made interesting because of the events behind it. Also, Malick has shown that he loves outdoor shots, and trying to capture them in a way that brings in the viewer. He doesn't fail to continue to do that in this movie. There are many shots of the sky in various points of the day, and the green suburb neighborhood that are very beautiful. He shows his very early enjoyment of the landscape he is shooting in early on.

Badlands may not turn out to be a movie you talk about for years to come, but it is entertaining, and a disturbing look into two very strange people. You question their mental health, and what drew them together considering their apathetic nature. They are almost at robots at time. Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek are captivating actors without having to be put together in a movie, but putting them together in a movie is brilliant. You will be on edge just to see how it turns out for them in the end after they go on the run.

Rating 4 of 5.





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