Tuesday, January 20, 2015


If there's one thing sure about Badlands, it's that it has a recurring theme: gunfire. You know, BANG BANG BANG, more BANG, and even more BANG. To Kit, shooting numerous people to death comes naturally, it seems. It's almost like an addiction. He and Holly travel around the upper midwestern United States, meeting a lot of new people (and shooting a lot of new people as well). In my previous blog post, I talked about this film's differences and similarities to Bonnie and Clyde, and there's this one particular discrepancy that sticks out to me the most: there's no Bonnie. Sure, Holly accompanied Kit like Bonnie accompanied Clyde, however the two womens' personalities couldn't be more different from each other. He was doing all of the dirty work and Holly was basically just sitting there. Why? Instead of being a partner in crime, she was just a partner. Did she really love him that much? Did it ever cross her mind that something is seriously wrong with him? Yet, in the wake of each and every killing, she just quietly watched, barely uttering a word.

Throughout the duration of her journey, Holly consistently had a look of boredom, of disappointment on her face. Every time her (as she said herself) "trigger-happy" boyfriend shot somebody, I couldn't help but notice how uncomfortable she looked in the process. It's as if she wasn't meant to be there. Towards the end of the film, she decided to separate herself from Kit when the helicopter was coming after them. Personally, I don't blame her for making that decision, because she was an innocent little girl who hooked up with a troublesome guy, to say the least. Logic says that she should've never hooked up with him, and heeded her father's warnings. But my friends, this has nothing to do with logic. It's about love. Uneven love.

While Holly was somewhat attracted to Kit, he was head over heels for her. As I said in my last blog post, he seemed very pedophile-ish. She was just a young girl, and he was in his mid to late twenties. The two seemed more like father and daughter rather than girlfriend and boyfriend. AWKWARD!

Even though he got upset that she had chosen not to go with him, he still told her where the two could meet back up on New Years' Eve. Being so trigger-happy, he could've easily shot her along the way, but he had too much respect and admiration for her. When he was captured by law enforcement, they asked him if he would like to see Holly. He gladly said "yes", and bonded with her like nothing had happened. 

Perhaps even more confusingly, Kit had a calm demeanor when he dealt with law enforcement. He seemed strangely casual and nonchalant about it, as if the cops were his good ol' buddies. I was dumbfounded when I watched this. But then I thought back to all of the times he shot someone. He never got crazily loud or obnoxious, but was eerily relaxed about it. I kept asking "Why? Why? Why?" Why did he go around playing a real-life shoot em' up game? Why was he so calm when he was arrested, considering the fact that just a few minutes before, he had been on a high-space chase with the police? I don't get it. He basically turned himself in by stopping the Cadillac, and shooting one of the tires so that it couldn't move anymore even if he wanted it to. But why? 

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of this movie at all because of its lack of a real storyline, compared to
Bonnie and Clyde
especially. Things happen, people go places and do things, say things, but I can't help but wonder what the point of it all is. 

1 comment:

  1. Malik,

    I honestly think this is a great blog post. I understand that the lack of traditional narrative structure and character development can be confusing and even off-putting at times, but I think you hit the nail on the head when you ask the big question, "Why?"

    I would be interested in what you think about the more technical elements of the film such as cinematography and art design. This was director Terrence Malik's first feature film, and he seems to be experimenting quite a bit with the interplay between the "story" of Kit and Holly and their surroundings "the badlands of Montana" etc. The camera often seemingly gets lost as though the DP were on the second unit for the Nature Channel.

    This article may be difficult to get without a lot context, but I found it fascinating and would be interested in discussing it with you (and potentially others). Once again, really excellent work on the post. You do a nice job getting across Sissy Spacek's character's disaffectation. Keep asking the hard questions. BTW the director was a professor of philosophy at MIT, and that's what we think a philosopher does, right? Asks, "Why?"


    Oh right, the link: