Badlands - The Eclectic Cinema

The Eclectic Cinema
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Badlands   15
USA | 1973                  94 minutes
Terrence Malick
Martin Sheen|Sissy Spacek|Warren Oates

This was Terence Malick’s directorial debut, released fifty years ago, in March 1974. He also wrote the screenplay and raised much of the finance: he was only 28 when he made the film.

Set during the 1950s, in the American Mid-West, Sissy Spacek plays Holly, an impressionable 15-year-old, who is charmed by Kit Carruthers (played by Martin Sheen), ten years her senior, in a dead-end job, but very handsome in a James Dean sort of way. Holly loses her virginity to Kit, and he encourages her to quit her home and run off with him. Kit turns out to be a pretty unstable and violent character, but Holly is smitten.

It's not long before Kit’s violence leads to murder and the pair are on the run across the Mid-West, trying their best to live off-grid, but always leaving a trail of destruction and death behind them.

The story is loosely based on a real-life killing spree that occurred in 1958, when a young couple left eleven innocent people dead. Malick’s style is observational and does not take a particular moral standpoint, or look for psychological rationalisations. The narrative is filled in with a dead-pan voice-over from Holly. The landscape is mainly suggestive of desolation.

Initial critical reactions to the film were mixed, but like many great films its stature has grown with time. It was officially recognised by the US National Film Registry in 1993 as culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. Now, it is very highly regarded and as a first feature arguably one of the very best.
8 April 2024 MONDAY 19:30
Tickets £8.00|£5.00 (up to age 25)
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