Home > Movies, Reviews (Movies) > [Review] Badlands (Malick, 1973)

[Review] Badlands (Malick, 1973)

Malick made his cinematic introductions with innocent style. Only kernels of the self- indulgence that would occupy his career are evident. In fact, it is in the absence of his compulsion to make every frame a work of art that we are treated to a earnestness that wouldn’t be found again until TREE OF LIFE.

Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek deliver absolute brilliance. Kit embodies the danger Malick saw in shifting 50’s iconography. Holly is a portrait of the same danger in stripping women of their agency, forcing them to live in magazines. BADLAND’s harnesses the evil in revolution and liberated youth.

The “visual poetry” generally attributed to Malick is not the critical element here. The greatness of the film rests on the naive truths that it manages to reveal. BONNIE & CLYDE, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, and PIERROT LE FOU are inverted to create a unique depiction of Americana and a confident argument against the iconography of celebrity.

If you find yourself averse to the demanding decadence of DAYS OF HEAVEN, THIN RED LINE, and NEW WORLD, this picture will surprise and delight you. Experience a purer and more creative Malick.


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