Badlands Movie Review
Badlands is a 1973 crime film directed by Terrence Malick and starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. It is such an overrated, really middling movie.
The plot is the biggest reason why I found Badlands to be incredibly disappointing. It is just a typical crime plot that is in my opinion too reminiscent to ‘Bonnie and Clyde‘. But whereas that movie was incredibly entertaining, this one is just the opposite – it is incredibly boring and lifeless. Its running time is just an hour and a half and I was bored nevertheless and that is the testament to its sleep-inducing pacing and narration. Yes, that narration is so clichéd and annoying that it took me out of the movie entirely.
And the characters are just so boring as well. Both Holly and Kit are not only forgettable, but they are also very annoying at times. And the other characters are of course all forgettable as the movie mostly focuses on just these two. But I have to admit that their relationship was okay and it led to some pretty good scenes and it is the highlight of this otherwise dull movie.
Another problem I’ve had with Badlands is that it glorifies violence. And I always have a big problem with the movies that do that. Here the violence is thankfully not too much present and not too difficult to watch, but I’ve always had the feeling during this movie that it presented that violence in a positive light mostly due to that adventurous and romantic tone of the movie along with that really troublesome ending in which the policemen basically admire the guy who is the murderer. Maybe Malick was making a critique of that, but even if he was doing that, he failed because he did such a poor job at making that point come across.
Yes, I continue to dislike Terrence Malick’s movies and style. He is such an overrated director and even though Badlands is far from a bad movie, it is still just an okay, passable crime flick that is incredibly overrated as it did not deserve as much praise from critics as it had got. Technically, Badlands looks pretty good and its cinematography is the major selling point of the entire movie. Some of the scenery is great and some of the shots are really well established and quite memorable. The pacing is slow, but the acting is fine as both Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek did a good job in their roles, but nothing too remarkable. Some of the scenes were pretty romantic and memorable and I really liked those scenes that came mostly in the first half as the second half ruined it for me as it became a typical crime movie. But its lack of message and its evident troubled portrayal of violence makes this movie so difficult to watch.