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Refracted through Holly’s naive, emotionally flat narration and Malick’s poetic visual style, this familiar tale is transformed into something strange and oddly beautiful. [29 Aug. 2008]
The movie makes no attempt to psychoanalyze its Kit Carruthers, and there are no symbols to note or lessons to learn. What comes through more than anything is the enormous loneliness of the lives these two characters lived, together and apart.
Achingly evocative of a time when Hollywood had the courage to invest in complex and morally ambiguous films and an indisputable masterpiece of American cinema. [26 May 2003]
San Francisco Chronicle
Among the great American crime movies, 1973's Badlands stands alone. [13 Feb. 1998]
An unmissable, transcendentally beautiful classic. [28 Aug. 1998]
The New York Times
One may legitimately debate the validity of Malick's vision, but not, I think, his immense talent. Badlands is a most important and exciting film.
Badlands is one of the great banality-of-evil films. [29 May 1998, p.C9]
Badlands is about a landscape as much as the couple fleeing across it. Watching it, you sense that Malick finds his outlaw lovers beautiful and terrible, pathetic and monstrous, funny and overwhelmingly sad. [27 March 1998]
A film so rich in ideas it hardly knows where to turn. Transcendent themes of love and death are fused with a pop-culture sensibility and played out against a midwestern background, which is breathtaking both in its sweep and in its banality.
San Francisco Examiner
For all its lazy beauty, the movie is rooted in the personalities of its lead characters and they, unfortunately, are bloodless, affectless, emotionless dopes who turn their considerable lack of scruples on the business of senseless killing, for which they seemingly have no remorse. [13 Feb. 1998]
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