Terrence Malick made his debut feature Badlands on a shoestring budget; yet, as many before him (e.g. Satyajit Ray) and since (e.g. Jim Jarmusch) have proved, a great work of art depends only so much on the thickness of the producer’s wallet. One of the finest depictions of how crime lurks in every nook and corner of human society, the movie has two absolutely mundane characters become partners in crime as they leave a trail of bodies from the idyllic South Dakota to the “badlands of Montana.” The movie’s sparse treatment, backed by a haunting score, suffused a deep poetic realism in the tale of ennui and casual violence, and made the movie a lyrical ode to the aimless journey of the two lost souls and their killing spree which turned them into icons. Both Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek (who also happens to be the story’s narrator) managed to put in natural performances. The most definitive aspect of this movie, in fact, lay in its lush photography. The stunning yet bleak panoramic visuals of the vast barren spaces in the Midwest didn’t just make for a near hypnotic viewing experience, but also made the theme that much more fatalistic, disturbing, complex.
Director: Terrence Malick Genre: Drama/Crime Drama/Existential Drama/Road Movie/Americana Language: English Country: US