Daniel's Review of Badlands
A unique film, in its time, as a completely amoral take on a serial killer, an approach that has oft been imitated since. But this isn't a film "about a serial killer," not exactly; for my money, it's more about the gulf between expectations and reality, about the disenchantment that comes with growing up and having to choose which way your life will go. A character like Kit (Martin Sheen) just opts out entirely, and Holly (Sissy Spacek) comes along for the ride, not knowing what she's getting into, just accepting the advances of an older boy who kind of looks like James Dean. I had a hard time with the first Malick film I saw, The Thin Red Line, but I feel like I got this one: it makes a brash comment about what happens when we see (or worse, choose to see) only the surface of things. Beautiful cinematography and joyfully frustrating in its unwillingness to explain, to tie on a tidy bow at the end, it's a groundbreaking film that still stands up today and probably the best one with which to introduce yourself to this difficult director.