Badlands

Badlands ★★★½

I've decided to watch all nine films directed by Terrence Malick. I know I've seen a few (this and The Tree of Life), I know I've tried to watch a few but was probably unsuccessful at the time (The Thin Red Line, The New World), but most of them I've never seen at all.

In this drama set in South Dakota in the 60's, 25-year old Kit falls in love with 15-year old Holly and he shoots her father to death. They elope from the law, confused, dangerous and in love, but unlike Bonnie and Clyde they're not robbing banks, just drifting around.

I enjoyed this the first time I watched it and I enjoyed it now as well. I'm guessing it's probably the least "Malicky" of Malick's films, but it does have some of his later trademarks: beautiful environmental shots, some montage sequences (some, haha) and voiceover narration. The characters have a kind of naïve charm to them, which largely works but can be a tad frustrating at times (when Holly's father is shot she acts as though he fell and bumped his head or something). The film also drifts a bit much at times but it's fairly short so it's not too difficult to sit through.

I also noticed that the theme for this and True Romance (also a film about a pair of crazy lovers that elope and end up in violent situations) sound almost exactly the same: they both have that xylophone thing to them. Could be coincidence, but I doubt it.

I don't have much else to say about it. It's a good, solid directorial debut. It's a bit odd, the opening feels a little rushed to me, and it does drift a little bit at times, but I guess I'm really in for it with the remaining eight if I think this one has a thin plot, haha. I would certainly recommend it but I also don't think it's utterly amazing in any particular way.

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