Badlands Reviews

  • Dec 30, 2020

    Martin Sheen carries this fairly arresting early picture from the great Terrence Malick. The characterization is pretty one-note and the ending doesn't seem to incorporate something though provoking or any kind of arcs for the people on screen, unfortunately.

    Martin Sheen carries this fairly arresting early picture from the great Terrence Malick. The characterization is pretty one-note and the ending doesn't seem to incorporate something though provoking or any kind of arcs for the people on screen, unfortunately.

  • Dec 25, 2020

    This is my second dip into Terrence Malick's filmography (Days of Heaven being the first.) Badlands strikes me as the small scale version of Bonnie and Clyde. Malick captures a slice of Americana with a carefully woven portrait of two young adults on the run. Hard to believe that this was his first feature film.

    This is my second dip into Terrence Malick's filmography (Days of Heaven being the first.) Badlands strikes me as the small scale version of Bonnie and Clyde. Malick captures a slice of Americana with a carefully woven portrait of two young adults on the run. Hard to believe that this was his first feature film.

  • Dec 23, 2020

    I'm trying to get into these 70's movies that are highly rated, but I haven't found a good one. They're ok, and I can see how they have inspired other directors and screenwriters, but for the most part, like this one, I find them empty for the most part. This one captured some natural-like dialogue and behavior, but they were infrequent. The Cadillac had some durable tires. And Cassie Spacek's character was a whole new level of impressionable and daft.

    I'm trying to get into these 70's movies that are highly rated, but I haven't found a good one. They're ok, and I can see how they have inspired other directors and screenwriters, but for the most part, like this one, I find them empty for the most part. This one captured some natural-like dialogue and behavior, but they were infrequent. The Cadillac had some durable tires. And Cassie Spacek's character was a whole new level of impressionable and daft.

  • Nov 23, 2020

    An extremely laid back and grounded sensibility permeates through all of Badlands, especially given the context of the film. Enjoyable yet never extremely enticing.

    An extremely laid back and grounded sensibility permeates through all of Badlands, especially given the context of the film. Enjoyable yet never extremely enticing.

  • Oct 14, 2020

    Malick's films tend to rely on a combination of atmosphere and cinematography rather than profound plot development or depth of character, which is probably not to everyone's taste. Beginning with Badlands as a debut, critics have described Badlands as more poetry than film, moving with an intense simplicity, brutality, and beauty from scene to scene. It wields the same base narrative as the 1967 rendition of Bonnie and Clyde, which was itself famed for creating an entirely distinctive genre of film, but adds in a degree of artistic vision that the other seems sorely lacking; where Arthur Penn created a film combining objectively 'bad' people and an empathetic perspective, Malick cut out a slice of America in all its beauty and ugliness and put it up on screen for 93 minutes. The house burning, the wealthy home intrusion, and the final capture that ties everything together each feel potent, especially behind a great performance from Sheen and contrasted well by the generally distant Spacek. The American Midwest is displayed in incredible detail and intensity, beaten only by the 'Golden Hour' scenes of Malick's own Days of Heaven some five years later. (5/5)

    Malick's films tend to rely on a combination of atmosphere and cinematography rather than profound plot development or depth of character, which is probably not to everyone's taste. Beginning with Badlands as a debut, critics have described Badlands as more poetry than film, moving with an intense simplicity, brutality, and beauty from scene to scene. It wields the same base narrative as the 1967 rendition of Bonnie and Clyde, which was itself famed for creating an entirely distinctive genre of film, but adds in a degree of artistic vision that the other seems sorely lacking; where Arthur Penn created a film combining objectively 'bad' people and an empathetic perspective, Malick cut out a slice of America in all its beauty and ugliness and put it up on screen for 93 minutes. The house burning, the wealthy home intrusion, and the final capture that ties everything together each feel potent, especially behind a great performance from Sheen and contrasted well by the generally distant Spacek. The American Midwest is displayed in incredible detail and intensity, beaten only by the 'Golden Hour' scenes of Malick's own Days of Heaven some five years later. (5/5)

  • Aug 10, 2020

    The cinematography is absolutely beautiful. The script didn't really catch me though, I was bored at times.

    The cinematography is absolutely beautiful. The script didn't really catch me though, I was bored at times.

  • Jul 24, 2020

    Beautifully shot, sharp and lean, but I think whether you find it great depends on whether you believe in or care about the characters and I didn't. Spacek - as ever - was brilliant but I think sheen was miscast. I didn't see any menace in him.

    Beautifully shot, sharp and lean, but I think whether you find it great depends on whether you believe in or care about the characters and I didn't. Spacek - as ever - was brilliant but I think sheen was miscast. I didn't see any menace in him.

  • Jul 07, 2020

    Interesting to see the actors being SO young, but the screenplay didn't capture my interest.

    Interesting to see the actors being SO young, but the screenplay didn't capture my interest.

  • Jul 06, 2020

    I don't get the hype, i don't get the aesthetic. I don't understand why this film is considered influential. It's slow and incohesive. None of the reactions are justifiable or logical.

    I don't get the hype, i don't get the aesthetic. I don't understand why this film is considered influential. It's slow and incohesive. None of the reactions are justifiable or logical.

  • Jul 02, 2020

    Terrence Malick is on the shortlist of directors that make films which are diametrically opposed to everything I enjoy about the medium. He has a tendency to focus solely on making art rather than telling stories, and I find that tedious and annoying. So when I sat down to watch Badlands I was more than a little leery. There are still some of Malick’s artsy-fartsy moments in this film, as he feels the need to include shots of beetles crawling on weeds, or branches blowing in the breeze. It also seems he has a great passion for breathy women doing voiceover in his films. However, at least in this scenario, Sissy Spacek is talking about plot. Badlands has a story and it tells that story effectively rather than getting bogged down in too much esoteric nonsense. Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t a ton of plot to Badlands, but any plot from Malick is appreciated. This is a rather familiar Bonnie & Clyde style of story, but in this scenario it's not about robbing banks to make lots of money. Instead it seems like Martin Sheen’s character just considers murder to be a mundane aspect of life. He brings no emotion to it and acts as though this is a perfectly normal thing to do. It was puzzling to me, and certainly made him an interesting character to watch. Sissy Spacek was a good casting choice for the young love interest of this killer, because she can pull off that wide-eyed innocence, and offers some great deer-in-the-headlights stares. But there simply wasn’t much drama in Badlands, since it seemed they were just stalling for time before reaching the inevitable conclusion. Also, the main characters were utterly emotionless when committing crimes, so the film lacked any passion or excitement. Badlands is watchable, but it was a somewhat hollow experience and doesn’t do much to elevate my opinion of Terrence Malick.

    Terrence Malick is on the shortlist of directors that make films which are diametrically opposed to everything I enjoy about the medium. He has a tendency to focus solely on making art rather than telling stories, and I find that tedious and annoying. So when I sat down to watch Badlands I was more than a little leery. There are still some of Malick’s artsy-fartsy moments in this film, as he feels the need to include shots of beetles crawling on weeds, or branches blowing in the breeze. It also seems he has a great passion for breathy women doing voiceover in his films. However, at least in this scenario, Sissy Spacek is talking about plot. Badlands has a story and it tells that story effectively rather than getting bogged down in too much esoteric nonsense. Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t a ton of plot to Badlands, but any plot from Malick is appreciated. This is a rather familiar Bonnie & Clyde style of story, but in this scenario it's not about robbing banks to make lots of money. Instead it seems like Martin Sheen’s character just considers murder to be a mundane aspect of life. He brings no emotion to it and acts as though this is a perfectly normal thing to do. It was puzzling to me, and certainly made him an interesting character to watch. Sissy Spacek was a good casting choice for the young love interest of this killer, because she can pull off that wide-eyed innocence, and offers some great deer-in-the-headlights stares. But there simply wasn’t much drama in Badlands, since it seemed they were just stalling for time before reaching the inevitable conclusion. Also, the main characters were utterly emotionless when committing crimes, so the film lacked any passion or excitement. Badlands is watchable, but it was a somewhat hollow experience and doesn’t do much to elevate my opinion of Terrence Malick.