Sunday Matinee: Badlands

badlandsThis will be the last Sunday Matinee for a while, starting Wednesday and for the entire month of October it’s another 31 Days of Horror. Sunday Matinee will return in November. Today’s Sunday Matinee is Terrence Malick’s first film, the 1973 movie Badlands.

Set in the 1950’s the movie stars a very young Sissy Spacek who falls in love with a young psychotic Martin Sheen. Sheen kills Spacek’s father and gets her to run away with him. For a while, they live peacefully out in the wild but eventually they are discovered and go on the run. Sheen’s encounters with people get more and more violent. The film is narrated by Spacek who kind of romanticizes the events that happen around them.

The film is shot beautifully as is all of Malick’s movies and the music score is pretty catchy. The story was loosely based on the real life Starkweather / Fugate murder spree. While the basic plot is the same, the killings are less gruesome than they were in real life. While Badlands was inspired by a real event, Tony Scott’s movie True Romance (which was based on a Quentin Tarantino screenplay) more than borrows elements from this film. From the soundtrack to Patricia Arquette’s narration to the young lovers on the run plot, it’s a pretty obvious homage.

I’m not the biggest Terrence Malick but Badlands is excellent.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.

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