Thursday, January 27, 2011
Badlands; drama, USA, 1973; D: Terrence Malick, S: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Ramon Bieri, Alan Vint, Warren Oates
The 15-year old Holly lives with her father in some secluded South Dakota town. One day, Kit, a 25-year old garbage worker who still acts like a rebellious teenager, meets and charms her. Her father is against the relationship, so Kit decides to simply take Holly with him. An argument erupts and Kit shoots the father and then burns the house. The young couple spends several months hiding in the forest, with Kit killing several bounty-hunters. In Montana, Holly doesn't want to run anymore and Kit is caught.
Director Terrence Malick is one of those individuals who really qualify the term 'sensitive artist' - After making only two films in the 70s, he 'disappeared' from the movie scene for 20 years before he returned to directing. He directs very rarely, but when he does, it is usually something special. His first feature length film, "Badlands", is a meditative and slightly dreamy drama about two outsiders, crammed with great images that flow naturally into the story, though a substantial complaint could be directed towards the feeling that as a whole, the film seems somehow vague and remote. "Badlands" have some great details and ideas (in the opening, Holly narrates how her father, after her mother died, "had their wedding cake left in the fridge for 10 years"; the rebellious Kit quits his job and throws his key into a paint can; the fire consumes Holly's house almost parallel to consuming a little toy house in it), love for nature whereas the music is enchanting, yet there is still a feeling as if there is something missing in it, some final spark, though it is undeniably a very good, ambitious and intelligent piece of real art.