Badlands (1973) Movie Review

Badlands (1973)
Badlands (1973) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Oberst Von Berauscht (A Toast) –

Kit (Martin Sheen) is a slacker of a garbage collector, who meets young Holly (Sissy Spacek) on his last day of work before being fired.  The two quickly fall for each other, although her father (Warren Oates) disapproves.  One day, Kit murders Holly’s father in front of her, and she reacts like any well-adjusted teenage girl would, by following him across country, murdering people along the way.

badlands 2

“True love is living out of cars with a spree killer who smells of B.O.”- No woman ever

A Toast

Director Terence Malick’s debut feature is also his most concise, coherent film.  Going forward, Malick films would become increasingly dependent on stylistic exercise, and less interested in telling a story.  Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek depict a young romance in all its Naiveté.  Holly is too young to understand her feelings, and is so wrapped up on the fantasy of being in love, she never really seems to consider the ramifications.  Holly serves as the film’s narrator, and serves as an often disturbing contrast with the reality of the situation.  Even as Kit’s crimes become more and more brutal, she always has an excuse for it, looking on everything Kit does with wide eyes of a child.badlands wide eye

Or a crazy person… really.

The film boasts a fantastic score, with Gassenhauer by Carl Orff serving as the dominant theme.  (This unique classical piece was later adapted by Hans Zimmer and re-used for the score to True Romance.) And the visuals are magnificent, shot mostly in Colorado and Wyoming in place of the stated locations of South Dakota and Montana.  Wide-open views of the plains, and weather-beaten towns  serving as the setting for most of the film’s events.  Occasionally, a mountain can be seen in the distance, representing the goals that Holly and Kit are trying to reach, but without ever getting close, no matter how hard they try.

Hasselhoff Gif

Yeah… kind of like that…



A strange journey into the world of romance and sociopathy.


Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for the body count

Take a Drink: for philosophical voiceover

Do a Shot: for every shot of someone staring/walking off into the distant plains…

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

One comment

  1. Still my favorite Malick film.

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