Excerpt: Terrence Malick burst onto the filmmaking scene in 1973 with Badlands , a refreshingly different approach to filmmaking from an American director that was a result of Malick drawing inspiration from directors like Françios Truffaut and, more apparently, Arthur Penn.
Excerpt: "Suppose I shot you. How'd that be?" That challenge, by Kit Carruthers (Martin Sheen) to the father of his underage lover, Holly (Sissy Spacek), is a trademark purr, oscillating between candor and impassivity, his words bouncing off the shabby walls of Holly's quiet South Dakota home like a hypothetical thought experiment instead of a real threat.
Conclusion: Fans of the New Hollywood era should enjoy 'Badlands', as right from the start, Malick revealed himself to be a filmmaker with a vision, and thanks to Criterion, the film has never looked better. Not surprisingly, Malick isn't on hand in the extras, but those who worked with him on the film provide some insight into the man and his process. This is highly recommended.
Conclusion: Badlands is one of the all-time great directing debuts and it's one that Terrence Malick has yet to best even as his ambitions and technical prowess have grown. Long worthy of a better release, this masterpiece finally gets it in this strong Blu-ray Disc that's likely to satisfy both Malick fans and the faithful Criterion customer base that will be happy to discover this 1970s gem.
Summary: Badlands is a film that doesn’t sit easily within the ‘love on the run’ sub-genre. While other examples of the style are based on overwhelming passions and stylish, violent set pieces, this film is more interested in creating a contemplative mood heavy in pathos and succeeds spectacularly. The two main characters are a strange but compelling mix of innocence and emotional apathy and the film finds many ways to highlight this.