OTB#67: Badlands

Badlands. Terrence Malick. 1973. ⚄

As usual with American movies depicting teenagers, it’s always confusing: Are these older actors really supposed to be teenagers, or are they developmentally challenged adults? Spacek looks mid-20s, but acts like she’s aiming for twelve, and Sheen looks like he’s late-30s, but acts like aiming for fifteen? Or are they supposed to be their real age? Or is she supposed to be young and he’s a pedophile? Or the other way around?



Spacek just explained, in a voiceover, that she’s fifteen and Sheen is twentyfive. Well, thanks!

I guess:

Badlands is often cited by film critics as one of the greatest and most influential films of all time.

It is a fun movie, but the ending (where Malick does the oh-so-ironic “look at how famous these killers are” thing) is rather grating: The subtext of the movie becomes the text, which either means that Malick doesn’t trust the audience, or that Malick doesn’t believe that he’s one of those star-struck people.

Which he obviously is.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best series.

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