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As and when aimlessness exploded deep in the veins of American lost towns, they teetered on the verge of despair. Dearth of employment in rural localities made the blind shot at fame luring even for the most innocents of hearts. Some wanted to be James Dean for his iconic cultural image as a savior of lost youth while others wanted an escape from their lives, even if, to a prison. Such an era where crimes came easy and punishments rare, Badlands unfolded. Terrence Malick has created a love story of polar opposites that attracts to finally burn, in this skin dipped indie escapade.



Almost entirely drenched in an orange hue, Terrence Malick’s Badlands is a visual poetry. It follows a simple (and horrifyingly true) story of two lovers who fly across the country, robbing and murdering people when being confronted or even while feeling uncomfortable. It defines an entire generation while capturing the core of freewheeling American spirit effortlessly. The couple playfully commit crimes, living each day as it comes, acting in ways questionable to society and meets the end in a carefree battle of fates.

With blood mumbling in his blue eyes, Martin Sheen is a hurricane that can put to ruins all the shines from the wings of a butterfly. Wearing white tights and auburn red hair kept loose, Sissy Spacek is a butterfly hopelessly in love with her doom. Terrence Malick plays with words as if they were his muse for making this indie powerhouse. He melts them with his lush cinematography, describing emotions rather coldly from a distance. He wields them like magic when love is at stake and when bitterness makes a home in the later half, he uses silence to etch out the pains. The guilt-free, remorseless nature of violence is explored rather brilliantly as the sharp writing and razor sharp performances gives images to the thoughts running down the hearts and minds of the leads.




As free flowing as a summer breeze rustling through the dry leaves, as evocative as the sound of rain on a softly moving river and as innocent in its crimes as the white clouds in blue skies, Badlands heralded the force that is Terrence Malick, all dreamy and subtle in this couple-on-the-run drama, making an achingly beautiful and an instant classic debut.

★★½

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