An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.
As it stands Kit and Holly are portrayed as two amoral children living out a childhood wish fulfillment . They kill someone and then spend a long period of time living out in the woods . It's almost like these childhood fantasies we have when we're younger how wonderful it would be if we could just escape from a world of industrialization and adults and just do whatever the hell we wanted with no interference and the point is hammered home when Kit builds a tree house out in the woods . Who but a child has ambitions to spend their life in a tree house ? However I find myself asking myself how this would be possible , is it likely that two teenagers wanted for murder , who have no probable experience of rural life and who both smoke cigarettes being to live off the land without having to buy groceries or go into town ? I could have accepted this if it stuck to a true story but not if it's been heavily fictionalised . Likewise we really don't find out the motivation behind the killing spree , Kit and Holly ( Well Kit since Holly is portrayed as being a bystander of sorts ) allow some people to live and some people to die without any rhyme or reason to it . Come to think of it perhaps the reason BADLANDS is so well regarded is because it's supposedly based on a true story . If you start looking upon it as a made up story it seems shallow and unimpressive for the most part doesn't it ?
Not to be negative this is a good debut by director Terance Malik who manages to bring out two very good performances from the then fairly unknown Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen . Remember I said something about childhood wish fulfillment ? that's exactly how Spacek and Sheen play their roles - As two children with misguided views on the world in general and love in particular . It's as if Kit and Holly are unaware of what consequence is , which again seems like a child's mentality would be . I also couldn't help noticing that Malik seems to have a great love of nature with shots of wild life and glorious and beautiful sun sets filling the screen , something he used in his later masterwork of THE THIN RED LINE which made me ask myself if Malik is a member of Greenpeace ? Perhaps not since he's an auteur who seems to know that while there's great beauty in nature there's also great cruelty present too
A good though perhaps not great example of cinema from the 1970s when amorality was all the rage
- Theo Robertson
- Jul 30, 2005