Badlands

Stark, brutal story obviously based on the Charles Starkweather-Carol Fugate murder spree through Nebraska and surrounding states in 1958, with Sheen playing the killer lashing out against a society that ignores his existence and Spacek as his misguided teenage consort. Sheen is forceful and properly weird as the mass murderer, killing Oates, Spacek's disapproving...read more

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Stark, brutal story obviously based on the Charles Starkweather-Carol Fugate murder spree through Nebraska and surrounding states in 1958, with Sheen playing the killer lashing out against a society that ignores his existence and Spacek as his misguided teenage consort. Sheen is forceful

and properly weird as the mass murderer, killing Oates, Spacek's disapproving father, when he forbids his daughter to date him. He then goes on the run, Spacek in tow, randomly killing innocents who cross his path. (Starkweather and Fugate, although she later denied killing anyone, were

responsible for the deaths of ten people.) The locale in the movie is changed to South Dakota but almost all the characteristics of the real culprits are intact, the strutting Sheen pretending to be James Dean in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, while Spacek doesn't quite understand what he's all about, but

goes along anyway.

Director Malick neither romanticizes nor condemns his subjects, maintaining a low-key approach to the story that results in a fascinating character study. Perhaps Starkweather himself provided the best insight into the character when he stated: "The more I looked at people the more I hated them,

because I knowed there wasn't any place for me with the kind of people I knowed." The film did scant box office business, but it remains one of the most impressive directorial debuts ever. While Malick would continue to show promise in the equally impressive DAYS OF HEAVEN, by the end of the 1980s

these two films would represent his entire oeuvre.

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  • Released: 1973
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Stark, brutal story obviously based on the Charles Starkweather-Carol Fugate murder spree through Nebraska and surrounding states in 1958, with Sheen playing the killer lashing out against a society that ignores his existence and Spacek as his misguided te… (more)

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