Monday, March 13, 2006


My screenwriting teacher would never let us talk about films that were less than five years old. The relevance of a film is not evident until it has aged enough to escape the mileau under which it was released. We all have certain films that we loved as kids but in review don't seem to hold up well. It's not the film that has changed but the wave it rode in on. Last night I watched Terrence Malick's Badlands. This is a film that holds up extremely well. It is very contemporary in style and tone. I'll let you decide what modern films it reminds you of. Sofia Coppola stated that while writing Lost in Translation, she was focused less on plot and more on creating moments that add up to a feeling. This seems to be Malick's approach as well. The dialog is revelatory but not to plot and not really to character. It seems to be indirectly in the service of tone and mood. The dialogue is also very risky because it is very deadpan and dumbed down. Martin Sheen's character is fascinating because he seems unmotivated by anything. Watching it last night I realized that his actions were totally unpredictable to me because they were unpredictable to him. There is a point near the end however when he seems to have an epiphony about his purpose. This becomes one of my favorite scenes in all of film and in a strange way, satisfying.

One side note: if you watch the scene at the end where he is riding with the cops, you realize that David Fincher stole more than the blocking for this scene for use in Seven. I wouldn't be surprised if Andrew Kevin Walker didn't have it in mind while writing it.


Blogger Jordan said...

I love this movie. As drew said it's one of those that goes against all the conventions about characters needing to have clearly defined objectives. Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek are great in it.

5:17 PM  

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