I am BARRY HESS > Blog


Right when I saw Badlands had been shipped from Netflix, I remembered that I had actually watched the movie before, contrary to my prior statements. Upon watching it for the second time tonight, I again found myself a little less than satisfied. The movie did not grab me as readily as the other Terrence Malick movies I’ve watched.

I don’t know if it was the setting or the unlikable characters, but I never quite found the energy to dig the symbolism out of what was happening on the screen. A naive juvenile caricature of romance here, a bland, polite superficiality contrasted with nonchalant immorality there. It’s a childhood dreamworld where the characters realize the eventual consequences of their actions, but never quite take the time to understand why the consequences exist.

And naturally, the more I talk about it the more I want to continue talking about it. Questions linger. Like what does the law enforcement reaction to Kit Carruthers (Martin Sheen) say about America’s addiction to fame? Did Kit feel his actions led him to ultimate success (fame)? I’ll stop now. If anyone has seen the movie and wishes to discuss it further in the comments, be my guest. Be warned all other readers, spoilers will likely abound.

The first paragraph of this post contained a all-out lie. “The movie did not grab me as readily as the other Terrence Malick movies I’ve watched.” Did I readily enjoy The Thin Red Line. Admittedly, no. So I felt an initial disinterest in two of the three Malick movies I have seen. I sense a trend. Bring on Days of Heaven.