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Badlands

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on September 2, 2011 at 11:20 PM



BADLANDS   ***1/2

Terrence Malick

1973



IDEA:  A young man and teenage girl travel across the Midwest, killing people and reminiscing along the way.


BLURB:  Amidst desolate landscapes inhabited by dust, grass and small animals, two people are escaping from civilization’s banal routines by living a reckless fantasy life. One of them does this by casually killing people, the other by watching and naïvely reflecting upon the almost surreal adventure. Both are detached, disaffected products of an alienated human reality, their getaway an exhilarating reprieve in which time and concern fade into irrelevance for a relative fraction of a moment. Their short-lived trip, and how the film documents it, is sorrowful while also being highly unnerving; we’re repelled by the shocking lack of remorse these psychopaths seem to have for their innocent victims, yet we somehow identify with their emptiness, the existential need to make ephemeral impressions into lasting mementos that history will forever endure. The effect is disturbing and oddly beautiful – a lament to a consciousness all too aware of its own troubled, impermanent existence.

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About the Author


Jonathan Leithold-Patt is a cinephile, film critic, and artist.

Contact at [email protected]

Devoted to the Movies