Terrence Malick’s first feature film, 1973’s Badlands, is pretty far removed from the kinds of movies he makes today. It’s more direct, and more dryly funny, with Sissy Spacek both starring in and colorfully narrating the story of a naive teenage girl who takes a deadly road trip across the northwest with a charismatic serial killer played by Martin Sheen. Though based loosely on a real-life crime-spree, Badlands isn’t meant to be historically accurate, or even realistic. The film is an intensely dreamy vision of small-town and rural America, populated by two characters who behave like children playing make-believe while their parents are away. It’s both enchanting and chilly, and while the plot and dialogue are nothing like The Tree Of Life or To The Wonder, the film does have the emphasis on natural beauty and interior monologues that would later define a Malick production. Badlands airs tonight on TCM, at 12:30 a.m. Eastern.
November 07, 2014 newsreel