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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before the Fall
Kit and Holly are presented in this story by Terrence Malick as total innocents, living in a prelapsarian state, completely unaware of right and wrong, good and evil, and ignorant of guilt or sin. They have minimal conception of the consequences of their actions; in effect, they appear almost totally to lack imagination or foresight, and can barely empathise with each...
Published on February 6, 2006 by blockhed

versus
38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Warner Bros lies again on the package...
One star for the format.
Be advised that the 2010 release, despite being labeled Wide Screen, is nothing of the kind. It's 1.33:1 ("formatted to fit your tv") and appears to have been cropped on either side.
This is the second time I've been screwed by WB DVDs. I recently bought The American President in a snap case that claimed to be "enhanced for widescreen...
Published on February 7, 2011 by Gil Lamont


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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before the Fall, February 6, 2006
This review is from: Badlands (DVD)
Kit and Holly are presented in this story by Terrence Malick as total innocents, living in a prelapsarian state, completely unaware of right and wrong, good and evil, and ignorant of guilt or sin. They have minimal conception of the consequences of their actions; in effect, they appear almost totally to lack imagination or foresight, and can barely empathise with each other, let alone other people. Things just happen, as Holly sees it. Kit doesn't feel hostility to the people he kills: they are merely in his way. There is no remorse. He is only marginally conscious that the structured world outside his own will eventually catch up with him. These kids are like Adam and Eve, with a limited knowledge of what is forbidden, but no real knowledge of the meaning of life and death. Holly throws out her sick catfish, showing no feeling. Her dog is shot as a punishment by her father, indicating he, too, is careless of death or pain. Kit stands on a dead cow, as though puzzled by its absence of life. Neither of the two seems to cry or laugh much. In one way these characters might also be thought of as throwbacks to a prehistoric, animalistic past, where the younger man simply eliminates the older, in order to secure a mate for himself. Just the way of nature, and beyond criticism. Apparently, so I've read somewhere, this is the mindset of the criminal, who cannot see what he is doing wrong. He has to get by, somehow, and takes the easiest path. Why work, when you can steal? If obstacles arise, eliminate them. People are OK, otherwise. Live now, die later. This is an extraordinary film, superbly acted.
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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A COMPLEX TALE OF EVIL..., February 19, 2003
This is an amazing directorial debut, as the film works on so many fronts. It is both a love story and a crime drama, with sneak peaks at what makes the two main protagonists tick. It remains for the audience to decide who is the more chilling and disturbed of the two characters, twenty five year old Kit (Martin Sheen) or fifteen year old Holly (Sissy Spacek).
This is a film in which two unlikely characters become lovers. Kit, a James Dean-like loser espies the fresh-faced Holly twirling her baton one day and is smitten. He approaches her and, despite her initial reluctance, she begins to see him against her protective father's wishes. Kit is ten years older than Holly, a high school drop out from the wrong side of the tracks, who is unable to maintain a job and appears to have a limited future. He falls in love with Holly and wants her to be his exclusively. Eventually, they become lovers.
Holly, a loner who has been raised by her father since her mother died many years ago, lives a middle class, materially comfortable existence. Her father, while he no doubt loves and cares for her, lacks a certain sensitivity. His idea of punishing Holly for disobeying him is to shoot her dog in cold blood. When her fish is dying, his solution is to toss it into the yard while it is still gasping for breath, replacing it with a new fish. Holly's naive, fresh-faced, freckled countenance belies a soul that has atrophied. It is as if Holly were disconnected from her feelings.
When Kit tries to talk to the father about his feelings for Holly, he is told in no uncertain terms to hit the road. Kit then decides to leave and take Holly with him. Kit enters Holly's house one day, packing a suitcase of her things in anticipation of their departure, when Holly and her father unexpectedly arrive home. Kit and Holly's father have a confrontation, that ends badly for dear old dad. It is here that the film first signals Holly's detachment as being something other than naivete. Her reaction is mind boggling. It is even more horrific than Kit's reaction. Or is it just shock? You be the judge.
They initially live an almost Thoreauesque existence in the woods, living off the land, reading, and spending lots of quality time together, until this, too, begins to pall. Discovery of their idyll by law enforcement officers drives them out, and they begin a chilling killing spree across the Badlands of South Dakota and a life on the lam.
While it is Kit who does all the actual killing, it is, to my mind, Holly who is the more complex and frightening character. Her prosaic and banal conversation, as well as a lack of empathy in the most heinous and disturbing of circumstances, is most unsettling. This is reinforced in the film through a voiced-over, almost toneless, detached narration by Holly of the events that took place. It is a masterpiece of point and counterpoint, chilling in its very telling and understated irony. When they are eventually caught, Holly remains impassive, while Kit relishes his celebrity and oozes charm, winning over his captors. Martin Sheen's performance is nothing short of brilliant, while Sissy Spacek is mesmerizing with her ability to chill the viewer.
This is an expertly crafted film with an ingenious use of music. The director even manages to utilize the music of Erik Satie (Gymnopedies 3) most effectively, however unlikely it may seem. Like the music of Erik Satie, the film is multi-textured and deceptively complex. Bravo!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable debut from Terrence Malick, November 17, 1999
This review is from: Badlands (DVD)
This is one of the best criminal/lovers on the run films to date. As in all of director Malick's films, the music, acting, and photography are all first rate. Malick does not stylize or glorify the violence like too many other films of the same plotting. The violence makes its impact on the viewer without resorting to any exaggerations or excessiveness. What is most striking about the film are its many contrasts with the characters. For example, the characters' alienation is depicted in the shots of lonely desolate landscapes. Many of their spoken thoughts, points of view, and statements are absolutely senseless....just like their killings. Martin Sheen is very chilling as the remorseless and trigger-happy Kit. What also makes Badlands different is that the film does not blame society for the behavior of Kit and Holly (played wonderfully by Sissy Spacek). Powerful, chilling, extremely well done and highly recommended.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars when the god of self supercedes all others..., October 26, 2003
This review is from: Badlands (DVD)
The film opens up and ends in diary fashion - the voice of Sissy Spacek narrates here and there, telling the tale her bleak existence in 50s rural midwest America. Holly (Spacek) lives alone with her father, dog and pet catfish. Her catfish gets sick, so she tosses him in the yard as he flounders for a gasp of air before he suffocates to death... and this is just the appetizer. She disobeys her father, so he shoots and kills her dog - and then you start to see a set of characters full of rules, but no true love... just self-imposed morality as it fits their need for control of every situation.
One lazy day Holly meets Kit (Martin Sheen), a handsome James Dean-esque character who is cocky, handsome, intelligent and shows interest in Holly. Kit is far from a father's dream of a catch for his daughter - kit is at least 10 years older and works as a garbage collector. While that profession pays better today, in the 1950s, it was hardly something worth writing home to mother about.
Holly's father forbids her to see Kit, but Kit is persistent and finally decides to kill the man who is in the way of their romance. The killing is less passionate or spontaneous than it is cold, emotionless and calculating. Similar to the way one swats a fly without remorse, killing it simply because it became too annoying, and life goes on. Holly just watches in a daze, not truly horrified at her wounded, dying father, and not surprised or mad at her beau.
Kit feels compelled to burn down the family home to cover up his crime, but then takes a record player outside so it won't burn - then goes to a self-recording record-making booth to make a confession record that plays outside the burning house as his morbid confession.
They live out in the wilderness, like animals, building primitive forts and look-out posts. When sheriff's deputies close in on them, the true killing spree begins. While a fairly unassuming garbage collector with no former criminal record, Kit has the skills of Rambo - he sets up camoflauged hiding areas and manages to kill all 3 deputies single-handed. They continue on a cross-country escape from justice, killing those who get in their way and sparing a few on a whim.
While Holly never truly pulls a trigger herself, she is the hapless participant and enabler - not threatened, but just tagging along like a faithful German Shepherd.
The movie is truly bizarre - but in a way, true to life in a chilling way. The young couple achieves a dark celebrity-like status - everyone knows who they are and are scared by them, yet fascinated at the same time.
The film is not overtly bloody and violent like the shoot-em-ups of today, but somehow very violent in an intimate way... there are many scenes without music or much background noise - just the eerie silence of the last breath of a dying gun-shot victim - things get so quiet, you can almost hear Holly's eyelids click when she blinks.
This is not a movie for kids and not a film to watch when you're tired - there are slow, silent scenes, but the film is far from boring. Aspiring actors and directors can learn a lot from this film's cinematography, direction and incredible acting. Despite it's almost flawless quality in filmmaking, it is a dark, depressing tale with no social redeeming values - other than a testimony to the results of raising children in a loveless environment. When children are not loved at home, they will attach themselves to the first person who shows interest in them - and find the near worship of their own pleasure as the pinnacle of existence.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Badlands, October 21, 2005
By 
Bomojaz (South Central PA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Badlands (DVD)
I think this movie goes right to the heart of the philosophical question of what art and artists are supposed to be and do: are they merely to present facts/ideas/personalities/images with no comment, no moralizing, no personal ulterior motives (leaving all those things to the viewer), or do they need to state clearly a moral purpose and certain direction (which the viewer can then accept or reject)?

Martin Sheen is Kit, a garbageman working in South Dakota; he becomes friends with 15-year-old Holly (Sissy Spacek). When her father tells Sheen he doesn't want him near his daughter again, Sheen kills him. The two run off together, living for a while in the woods like two "innocents" of some primitive society. But then they're discovered by three men and Sheen kills them, too.

They now head for Montana, Sheen committing more murders along the way. He is empty inside, nothing fazes him; he imagines he's like James Dean - misunderstood, alienated. But he doesn't have a clue what he should be alienated against, and as far as being misunderstood, he never once gives the least hint there is anything there TO understand. We finish watching the movie feeling as empty as Sheen. I also felt a little angry at Malick's attempt to con me into thinking there is more to Sheen's vapid character than there really is: he truly is just a non-entity who kills half a score of innocent people.

So back to my first paragraph. Malick obviously works from the perspective of the first half of my question posed (a view that became an obsession, I think, with artists, writers, film-makers, etc. beginning in the late 1960s); I tend toward believing the second half. Suum cuique.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Film, but DEFINITELY NOT WIDESCREEN transfer..., December 24, 2010
By 
B.E.F. (the Somme, 1916) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Badlands (DVD)
A Great Film, but DEFINITELY NOT WIDESCREEN transfer...
*
Terrence Malick's 1973 film Badlands is the first of his three significant works. Like the other two--(Days of Heaven, 1978; The Thin Red Line, 1998), Badlands is categorically a flawed masterpiece: hardly perfect, but with high aspirations nearly reaching a transcendent goal.

Badlands and Days of Heaven share favourite Malick tropes: vast open spaces of the American steppe; American-Victorian houses; American juvenile femininity; nighttime raging fire; silent daytime Hopperesque cityscapes; and closely shot insect life--all of which should be seen in cinematic widescreen.
Deplorably in this transfer--(despite the faulty page description)--this Warner Home Video
DVD release dated November 9, 2010 is DEFINITELY NOT WIDESCREEN.

In fact, it appears there is no widescreen version of Badlands currently available (cf. the outstanding Criterion Collection transfer of Days of Heaven in 1.78:1 aspect ratio).

That said, this DVD is worth viewing: even though it's full screen, the transfer is clear with vibrant colours and good sound (music by Orff, Satie, and James Taylor).
*
See too:

Days of Heaven (Criterion Collection)
The Thin Red Line (Criterion Collection)
The Thin Red Line
*
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I found this toaster.", March 8, 2004
By 
D. Knouse (vancouver, washington United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Badlands (DVD)
This is a film with a skewed perspective. Both main characters, played brilliantly by Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen are on the run for murder; they are in love, and both dwell in their own fantasy-lands far from any normal idea of reality. Believe it or not, the title phrase that I used here sums up this movie completely. Let me put it into its context. Martin Sheen's character, "Kit," drags his first murder victim down into the cellar of the house and while there he glances around, then grabs the first thing he sees and returns upstairs. Upon his arrival he says, "I found this toaster." He then places it on the counter like he just discovered The Holy Grail. His character's utter detachment from what he's just done is both creepy and morbidly hilarious. I once heard something in a movie that I will relate here: A genius tends to create his own Moral Universe. I believe that, but I also believe the opposite to be equally true. Apparently, the same idea holds true for socio-pathic, psychotic morons. These characters are so lost in their own personal "Wonderlands" that they create their own set of emotions, remorse not being on their very short list. Martin Sheen is the heart of the film, and dominates every scene he is in. However, Sissy Spacek plays the perfect foil to "Kit" and his left-of-center view of life. Her cold and submissive performance is echoed in the objective narration of the film, where she accepts what is happening at all costs because "Love" can't be wrong. What was especially unnerving for me was that I couldn't help but be charmed by these two very disturbed young people. They have an endearing quality that comes, I think, from their child-like perspective of the world. Everything is seen in simple terms, without any complexity of emotion. This film is a strange adventure about two very strange characters. What makes this story all the more compelling is that it is based on actual events. This is the first film from acclaimed director Terrence Malick, and my personal favorite of his from his small, 3-film catalog. His other films are "Days of Heaven" and his remake of the classic film "The Thin Red Line." Another film with the same ambience as "Badlands" is "At Close Range" which was released in 1986, and stars Sean Penn, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Christopher Walken. Both films are worth owning. I hope my review was helpful. Have a great day.
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Warner Bros lies again on the package..., February 7, 2011
By 
Gil Lamont "Gil" (Citrus Heights,, CA USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Badlands (DVD)
One star for the format.
Be advised that the 2010 release, despite being labeled Wide Screen, is nothing of the kind. It's 1.33:1 ("formatted to fit your tv") and appears to have been cropped on either side.
This is the second time I've been screwed by WB DVDs. I recently bought The American President in a snap case that claimed to be "enhanced for widescreen tv's" thinking that at last I'd get a picture I could live with unitl the Blu-ray issue (and no, that is not scheduled). But it was the same non-anamorphic disc that I bought years ago in one of those awful keep cases.
So: Caveat emptor. Go with the 1999 edition of Badlands, if you can find it, and you'll get both formats Then you can cheerfully ignore the stupidity of a P&S image in this day of Home Theater.
Shame on WB for mislabeling, and shame on Amazon for not differentiating.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Is Strange, May 20, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Badlands (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A masterwork is a hard thing to come by, and once you find one, it becomes impossible to let it go. Make no mistake about it, Badlands is a masterpiece of the highest order. It is a film I might never recover from, like all of Terrence Malick's films, Badlands aims to get personal with its audience. Badlands has officially entered my top ten favorite films ever made. Chilling, haunting, sublime, and enigmatic, Badlands is a blessing.

It is a film about a savage murder spree and the lovers who went through with it. Kit and Holly, played incredibly well by Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, are the lovers on the run, killing anyone they see fit, all the while remaining charismatic, likable, and most of all, relatable. Just imagine if the films of Quentin Tarantino actually had soul. My interest in the films of Quentin Tarantino dwindles more and more as the years go by. I've come to the conclusion that the man is not only a hack but a thief, and his crimes against Badlands did not go unnoticed nor can they ever by forgiven or forgotten.

If I could pick one word to describe the films of Terrence Malick, it would have to be 'poetry'. Badlands is one of the cinema's boldest and most chilling poems. I could go on forever about how I analyzed the film but these 'films of the day' are meant to be brief, so I'll spare myself the time and energy I'd spend on writing something that will never actually be read. Just know that the film is brilliant, in every single aspect, one the my favorite films of all time, and the best directorial debut ever. Beautiful and intimate, Badlands is a true treasure.

Bare with me while I praise Martin Sheen. He was just incredible in the film. Badlands' Kit is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite screen characters. Sheen was extraordinary, and has definitely proven that he was one of the best actors of the seventies, and that's a pretty big accomplishment once you consider his contemporaries. I absolutely loved his performance. Great talent.

The film is otherworldly, maybe even mystical. A visual poem full of lyrical beauty. I believe that Badlands best represents American cinema of the seventies. There is an intimacy that no other film, aside from maybe Malick's other ventures, has been able to match. An amazing film that I recommend to everyone I know. A top ten mainstay for me, and a film that like none other. An addictive film, I can watch Badlands over and over again, and I do.

Kudos To Criterion For An EXCELLENT BLU RAY!
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46 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do. Not. Buy., May 14, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Badlands (DVD)
It's extremely rare for a company to outright lie on a DVD case, but here they most certainly did. This is not anamorphic ("enhanced for widescreen TVs") widescreen, as it says on both the DVD case and the label on the DVD itself. It's not even widescreen- it's 1.33:1, full screen. Disgusting, Warner Brothers. Amazon should NOT be selling this.
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Badlands (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Badlands (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] by Terrence Malick (Blu-ray - 2013)
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