Over the Labor Day long weekend I went to a matinée at the Music Box, mostly to hear the organ player, but also to see the new David Lowrey movie Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which stars Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, and Ben Foster and I’m not going to write about now because I think it deserves to get nominations so we’ll see if it comes up in a couple of months.
When I went home I was Googling around to get more info about the movie and all the reviews I was coming across all mentioned how it was a rip off of Badlands, which I think is uncharitable they are different in a lot of key ways, but I’m glad because it compelled me to actually watch Terrance Malick’s 1973 debut film.
It’s both like and unlike Malick’s later work. It’s impressionistic but more linear than I was expecting. But the impressionism works really well here for me, because it somehow makes the horrendous violence more palatable. I saw a reference on-line somewhere that Malick thought of this movie as a fairy tale, and I can absolutely see that. There’s even an extended sequence where they live in the woods in a tree fort, which is absolutely insane but also dream like and cool.
(Sidenote – I really want the dress she’s wearing in that scene…)
Badlands won’t ever be my favorite movie, the killing is way too nonchalant for that, but the cinematography is beautiful (as it is in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) and very young Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek are so chillingly charming that I would recommend that people see this.