Badlands

Movie Review #692

badlands

Warner Bros A Warner Communications Company & Pressman Williams present…

…A Jill Jakes Production…

Studio: Badlands Company
Distributor: Warner Bros A Warner Communications Company – The Criterion Collection
Country: USA
Spoken Languages: English – Spanish

Directed by Terrence Malick. Produced by Terrence Malick. Written by Terrence Malick.

Rated PG by the MPAA – violence, mild profanity. Runs 1 hour, 34 minutes. Premiered at New York Film Festival on October 13, 1973. Limited release in New York City, New York on October 15, 1973. Limited re-release at New York Film Forum on May 10, 2013.

Starring Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, and Warren Oates. Also starring Ramon Bieri and Gary Littlejohn. Featuring uncredited cameo appearances by Emilio Estevez, Terrence Malick, and Charlie Sheen.

Cinemaniac Reviews four stars

Holly (Sissy Spacek) is an innocent, 15-year-old girl with a protective father. Kit (Martin Sheen) is that irresistible 25-year-old boy in the neighborhood who can’t even keep his job as a garbage disposal guy. He figures if he can get rid of her father–the first man to try and forbid seeing them together–then they can be happily in love. So he kills Holly’s father, burns down the house, and they move out together, living wherever they can find home. Kit kills people to keep trouble from arising; the one thing he fears more than going to prison is losing Holly.

We’ve seen this before. “Badlands” came less than a decade after “Bonnie and Clyde”, so the premise inspired by that movie isn’t exactly aged. It’s not the story that matters though, because this is absolutely nothing like “Bonnie and Clyde”. Terrence Malick seems to have poured his soul into “Badlands”. This is a heartfelt, somber drama with brushes of adventure. Everything looks so beautiful, and the xylophones’ music score is riveting, but that’s a low concern for this movie. Character development is what drives “Badlands” to success. We see everything through the eyes of Sissy Spacek, and her tale can be harrowing. Her honest, pure character really hits an audience as she succumbs to a criminal life. I sat with a gaping stare at the screen for at least three minutes, engrossed in the movie. When I pulled myself away from Spacek’s lamentations, I found myself tearing up.

Tomorrow’s Review

Revolutionary Road

BADLANDS IS AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY AND DVD FROM THE CRITERION COLLECTION.  OTHER FORMATS INCLUDE VHS.

Hit the jump for an announcement regarding the 2nd Annual Cinemaniac Awards:

Jared Leto has won 2014’s Cinemaniac Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club. I’ve seen some great drag performances, but most recent film I saw such delivery as great as Leto’s (albeit in a completely different league) was Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie. Considering that prestigious actor, that’s some high praise. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s announcement for Best Supporting Actress.

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5 thoughts on “Badlands

    • I agree. The Criterion Collection remastered it well pretty recently. Some shots are plainly awe-inspiring there. If only I’d had time to watch some of the special features (more than just the misleading trailer) afterward or before.

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    • I actually hadn’t heard anything about the story (just that it’s Terrence Malick’s best) until I was researching Bonnie and Clyde for a screenplay I was doing about six months back. Apparently Fun with Dick and Jane shares the same story, as well.

      Leto didn’t exactly have an “impact” on me either (if you mean something of a catharsis), but I really thought he transformed. He was stellar.

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