Badlands Directed by Terrence Malick (1973)- Malick’s debut, the lyrical tale of two young lovers on the run, remains one of his most poignant and beautiful films. Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek are perfect as the two alienated youths. Spacek is innocence, accepting the twisted “wisdom” of Sheen’s Kit, with an acceptance of all the good in the world. Her voice-over is haunting because of the killings taking place but it is also poetic. The astounding cinematography makes the American landscape irresistible yet imposing. It invites you in, to a more natural state, but is unforgiving and harsh. Kit’s more natural and animalistic state pulls him into the abyss, with Holly not far behind. The music, imagery, and the generally elegant way it is put together make it such a pleasant and almost uplifting experience at time but when the darkness at the heart of the film becomes more and more evident everything feels melancholic. Something about Malick’s point of view always seems surprisingly optimistic though. He’s kind of like the antithesis to Herzog when it comes to man’s relationship with nature, or at least it feels that way. I always come out of a Malick film, no matter what hardships and horrors the people have been through, with a good feeling of it seeming like wonderful things have been enlightened. Herzog often delivers the same thing but oftentimes it feels like he enlightens how humanity fails, while Malick has a bit of hope that some can be better. Simply as an experience Badlands is an excellent film. It flows so well and is always a pleasure to watch in every way, while also having so much impact.
You can try to escape the story of your life, but you can’t. It happened. The baby died; the dog died; the heart broke. I knew you when you were young—I know your heart broke, too. I will know you when we are both old and maybe wise. I hope wise. I know you now, your story. Mine isn’t the one I would’ve chosen in the beginning, but I’ll take it. It is my story. It’s only mine. And it’s not over. There’s time. There is time. There’s so much time.