What Terrence Malick's First Film Teaches Us About His Style


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Published: 6 months ago
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Terrence Malick's debut film Badlands, seems very different on the surface from his more recent work. But if we look closely we can see how the seeds that grew into what now defines a Terrence Malick film, were planted at the very beginning.

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This is an amazingly insightful series. Makes me appreciate the work even more.

2 weeks ago

I worked on DAYS OF HEAVEN when I was just out of high school and became lifelong friends with the film's Oscar-winning cinematographer, Nestor Almendros.


It was an amazing experience - but Terry's need for discovery on the fly was enormously frustrating to everyone involved, including the producer who had to remortgage his home to finish the film, and editor Billy Webber who spent over a year trying to help him find what he wanted to say. A true artist, yes, but when a director doesn't 'know what he wants til he sees it', the experience of making movies like this is excruciating.

2 weeks ago

yeah..yeah..blah blah blah..you totally forgot to mention that BADLANDS features the earliest example of Martin Sheen executing his famous "coat flip"

1 month ago

Wow this video is great, Malick is my favourite director of all time but i could never put into words why other than the cinematography and camera work, you explained it greatly, good work!

4 months ago

4.38 is LANTON MILLS ??

4 months ago

Your videos are awesome. Happy to see no dislikes and 346 likes.

4 months ago

Thank you. I really enjoyed this one. I like Malick's style, and was glad to hear your views and analysis. I think the strongest point for me is the voiceover which is used in a way to enhance the subjective experience and allows the viewer to go deeper into the character's heart /not only mind/. I encourage you to do more of these series. I would love to watch such series about Tarkovsky, Aronofsky, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and of course Wes, which you have already done...

5 months ago

These are the most beautiful and inexplicably moving movies ive ever seen. I cannot put it into words but i am moved to tears by nearly every scene in The Thin Red Line. For me the most moving director out there.

5 months ago

Nick Nolte was brilliant in this incredible movie

1 day ago

Fantastic video! Persevere with doing worthy content and you are going to get bigger very quickly! Subscribe to our channel and also we should subscribe to you!

5 months ago

I love this series! i hope to see the likes of Tarantino or Baz Lurman up in here!!

5 months ago

Really enjoy your content dude. Thanks for the hard work in this videos.

6 months ago

Thank you!

6 months ago

8:20 wait a minute. is this where one of my favorite film scores of all time (You're so cool by Hans Zimmer from True Romance) came from? Even the voice over narration by Patricia Arquette's character Alabama sounds identical to this one by Sissy Spacek. It had to be deliberate by Zimmer and Tony Scott

6 months ago

It's a classical piece by Carl Orff ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ9_6W6bVoQ

6 months ago

This is a great breakdown. I'm a big Malick fan and have seen everything he's done, but it was interesting how you analyzed his work. Some new things I hadn't thought about. Love this, keep em coming!

6 months ago

Imo, the first three movies of Malick are masterpieces. He showed incredible talent for filmmaking and unique features (introspective, nature-oriented cinema) while still submitting to basic rules of 'conventional cinema'. ,which made his movies enjoyable and still interesting due to his personal style.
When he breaks that balance and goes full 'experimenting' mode, I lost all interest. I know that postmodernism and this idea of breaking the rules of art' to allow complete freedom is quite fancy nowadays arouhd independent circles. However, by renouncing to certain narrative parameters, he is killing the art in my opinion. I respect that, but if the outcome of 'breaking the rules' is Malick's last movies, I just dont like it. I may have to admit that I prefer certain rules to 'restrict' complete freedom in art, while still allowing unique and personal styles, although I am not a fan of rules myself most of the times :D

6 months ago

His next movie is more than likely a jump back to what his first three movies are.
Maybe he's got that experimental stuff out of his system. We'll see.

2 months ago

+Thomas Flight Ah, I didn't notice this link between his restriction and the historical context of the film, that is very interesting. I had lost any hope of seeing the 'old' Malick again, but now I am hyped about this upcoming movie. Thanks for answering!

6 months ago

My video "Malick's Obsessions" from earlier this year dives deeper into some of my thoughts and frustrations with his newest three films. But I will say I think you're totally correct, his best works is when he's restricted a little, (specifically it seems within a historical context). The Thin Red Line is my favorite of his films, because I think the struggle between his existential style and the reality of showing war creates something entirely unique.

That said he's tackling a historical topic again next, so I'm interested to see what that's like.

6 months ago

His films are gorgeous to look at. But increasingly I've grown frustrated with his final products. The narratives are increasingly nonexistant and his voice-overs become superfluous over time. Repetitive, even. I get more and more that he isn't so much doing art as he is rambling on and on about his personal fears and obsessions. They almost seem more like cries for help from a deeply depressed man. The guy so clearly needs mental help. A therapist to sort out his parental issues he so clearly has lost his mind to. There just isn't any progression.

Again. They are awesome reels of cinematography. I just wish he had something new to say. Or at least that he stopped the voice-overs and embraced them as meditative cinematography porn like the works of Ron Fricke. By putting words to the basic thoughts of his characters he diminishes the potential for exploration of his themes. They just become simplistic and repetitive... Like this comment.

6 months ago

I definitely agree a bit and I'm not as amazed by his work since The Tree of Life, even though I'll continue to watch his films just because of how original he is.

My other video on Malick, "Malick's Obsessions" dives a little deeper into some of my thoughts on the three newest movies and some of my frustrations with them.

That said, he's doing a historical topic next, so I'm interested to see what that will be like!

6 months ago

Great video! Which director is next in your series?

6 months ago

Most likely either the Coen Brothers or David Lynch!

6 months ago

Great video. Re-watched Days of Heaven this week. Just my opinion, but I think your use of music on clips from Malick's movies was a little heavy handed. I think including the clips with just their natural sound is more appropriate for film comparison and criticism. But hey, stellar work and keep making stuff!

6 months ago

Thanks for watching and thanks for the feedback!

6 months ago

As always very well done and entertaining, thank you. Hope one day you do a video about Werner Herzog.

6 months ago

Malick made me get into cinema. I'm aware of the post haitus change in style, and I love it. And no one else feels the same way and no one even talks about him. Knight of cups did things to me, I can't even put it into words. I can watch his movies forever.

6 months ago

Hello, could you please share the name of the song that you use at the middle of the video ? I just can't find it in Musicbed, please!

6 months ago

As it was (Piano Strings Instrumental) by Future of Forestry

6 months ago