Badlands: Directed by Terrence Malick
a jpoc movie review

Badlands-Good movie

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Main Cast
Kit Martin Sheen
Holly Sissy Spacek
Holly's Father Warren Oates
Links
The theme music Carl Orff: Musica Poetica
The true story Badlands was based on the tale of Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate
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My Rating & viewing notes

Seven out of ten.

I first saw this at the North Staffs poly film theatre soon after its original release. It was taken by Tarrantino as a stepping off point for True Romance and he used a variant of the main going someplace musical theme (Carl Orff's "Musica Poetica"). The same music later turns up in Finding Forrester as Sean Connery rides off on his bike.
My review

Inspired by, but not based upon, a true story, Badlands tells the tale of Kit (Martin Sheen) and Holly (Sissy Spacek), two aimless young people who team up and spread a trail of death across Dakota in an attempt to reach Montana and find some kind of refuge from the law.

They don't actually kill that many people but they aquire considerable status with both the public and the police. Their first victim is Holly's father (Warren Oats) who, correctly, had marked Kit out as unsuitable and this starts their flight across the badlands of Dakota. Twentyfive year old Kit makes the running and Holly, fifteen, just tags along because she has nothing better to do than hook up with a serial killer sociopath. They live a survivalist life in the wilds or on the road with occasional forrays back to the real world to rob whoever they can when the need or mood arises.

As a story, it is not that great but that is not the point of this movie. The main characters are not at all well developed. Kit just does what he feels like and there is no attempt at explaining or developing his character. We do discover rather more about Holly, mostly because there is a running narrative voice over by the character. Rather coyly, in the narrative, which takes the form of her thoughts on the events that take place, Holly never gives any thought to losing her virginity to Kit. Despite this, the characters have a strange appeal and you cannot help hoping that somehow, things are going to work out.

The real appeal of the movie though is a combination of the soundtrack and cinematography. Watching the images and listening to the delicate themes of the music is a delight and this makes the movie one to treasure and watch often.