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Badlands

The good old ‘merican way

In my recent efforts of trying to change few things in my life, I’ve started to watch some old movies that sat around my computer for ages.

Quite scared by Tree of Life (watched it some time ago), one of more recent Terrrence Malick’s works, I didn’t knew what to expect from his first full-length directed, produced and wrote movie,apart from some rumble about “old ‘merica” and some weird shots of desserts and maybe mountains. Boy, was I wrong…

Badlands

“The day was quiet and serene but I didn’t notice, for I was deep in thought, and not even thinking about how to slip off. The world was like a faraway planet to which I could never return. I thought what a fine place it was, full of things that people can look into and enjoy.”

Firstly, Badlands is a true american movie. It reeks of 60’s mid-west cultural background and the “good old ‘merican ways” (I’m no expert though). Few shots of that mid-west, quite rhetorical quotes, a James Dean look alike main character (quite resembling the attitude of Rebel Without a Cause) and a mildly Bonny and Clyde inspired plot, gives this movie, both a very spiritual driven, but also action wise part.

Some might argue, it’s even a story about spiritual findings, somewhat remembering Kerouac’s On The Road (the american symbols start to pile), this time, the destination being “the Mountains”, on the far side of the picture. As for the fate of our protagonist, it could be seen as either sad or beautiful, depending on the person and their view of the events presented in the movie.

As for me, I believe this is a story that should be seen with a dose of nostalgia and an attitude for aesthetic western american culture.

In conclusion, Martin Sheen commented in 1999 that Badlands “still is” the best script he had ever read. He wrote that “It was mesmerising. It disarmed you. It was a period piece, and yet of all time. It was extremely American, it caught the spirit of the people, of the culture, in a way that was immediately identifiable”.

 

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