Hypnotic, hallucinating, neurotic. Badlands grows on you slowly and once the dust has been cleared the impact is felt as strong as a hurricane. What is striking is the film’s nonjudgmental approach. It does not try to put forth an opinion, but allows us to paint one. It is almost cajoling and simultaneously sobering. The film is not just a story, but also a reflection of the director’s psyche and, at the same time, it also reflects the viewer’s through the opinions that he/she brushes on the film’s landscape. Thats a nasty combination and a tough act! As Vincent Canby relates in his review: “One may legitimately debate the validity of Malick’s vision, but not, I think, his immense talent.”


Produced, written, and directed by Terrence Malick; cinematographers, Brian Probyn, Tak Fujimoto, and Stevan Larner; edited by Robert Estrin; music by George Tipton; art designer, Jack Fisk; released by Warner Brothers. With: Martin Sheen (Kit), Sissy Spacek (Holly), Warren Oates (Holly’s Father), Ramon Bieri (Cato), and Alan Vint (Deputy).


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