Saturday, 12 May 2012

Film Review: BADLANDS (1973)

Badlands - poster Writer/Director: Terrence Malick
Running time: 94 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Crime/Drama/Romance
USA Release date: 13th October 1073 (New York Film Festival)

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 12th May 2012.


I have always struggled in the past to get a grip on the films of Terrence Malick. I guess they just don’t make a connection with me the same way the works of other directors do. To this end I decided to go back to what many have told me is his best work, Badlands, and I must say I was not disappointed. I will give you a more detailed opinion after this very brief summary.

Badlands - 5 In 1959, Port Dupree, South Dakota a young man named Kit sees fifteen year old Holly and decides to speak to her. She is ten years his junior but that doesn’t seem to matter to Kit and eventually they fall in love. After an incident that involves Holly’s father the pair finds themselves on the run. They live in a tree house for a while, but they are discovered and Kit ends up killing three men. What follows is a race across the country and a killing spree that becomes legendary. It all ends in the Badlands of Montana, but, of course, I’m not going to say just how it ends here or the Spoiler Police will have an APB out on me! (again).

Badlands - 4 There are some moments of sheer cinematic brilliance in this film that I found quite beautifully done. The way Malick uses imagery is quite stunning sometimes. The film hinges on the performances of the two central characters and both Martin Sheen as Kit and Sissy Spacek as Holly stepped up to the mark and put in stellar performances (IMO). In fact Sissy Spacek was nominated for the Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles BAFTA in 1975 on the strength of this performance.

Badlands - 3 A very slow deliberate pace is one of the hallmarks of a Terrence Malick film and this is no exception. If anything, I did find it a little too pedestrian for my taste, however, the strength of the characters was enough to keep me interested. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised at how good this film was, especially the cinematography. A stunning piece of work and one I have no problem in deeming: Highly Recommended.

My score: 8.9/10

IMDb Score: 7.9/10 (based on 23,833 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: NO DATA: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 98/100 (based on 43 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 89/100 (based on 21,580 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

Badlands - 7 If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:

[first lines]
Holly Sargis: [voice over narration] My Mother dies of pneumonia when I was just a kid. My Father kept their wedding cake in the freezer for ten whole years. After the funeral he gave it to the yard man. He tried to act cheerful but he could never be consoled by the little stranger he found in his house. Then one day hoping to begin a new life away from the scene of all these memories he moved us from Texas to Port Dupree, South Dakota.

Holly Sargis: [voice over narration] Little did I realise that what began in the alleys and back ways of this quiet town would end in the Badlands of Montana.

Badlands - 1 Kit Carruthers: You Tired?
Holly Sargis: Yeah.
Kit Carruthers: Yeah, you look tired... Listen, honey. when all this is over, I'm going to sit down and buy you a big, thick steak.
Holly Sargis: I don't want a steak.
Kit Carruthers: Well, we'll see about that... Hey, lookie.

Holly Sargis: One day, while taking a look at some vistas in Dad's stereopticon, it hit me that I was just this little girl, born in Texas, whose father was a sign painter, who only had just so many years to live. It sent a chill down my spine and I thought where would I be this very moment, if Kit had never met me? Or killed anybody... this very moment... if my mom had never met my dad... if she had never died. And what's the man I'll marry gonna look like? What's he doing right this minute? Is he thinking about me now, by some coincidence, even though he doesn't know me? Does it show on his face? For days afterwards I lived in dread. Sometimes I wished I could fall asleep and be taken off to some magical land, and this never happened.

Badlands - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)

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