Former Harvard Rhodes scholar Terrence Malick's debut feature revisits the murderous Midwestern terrain of the late 1950s. Kit (Martin Sheen) is a 25-year-old trashman who fashions himself as James Dean. When he meets Holly (Sissy Spacek), a cute, innocent 15-year-old, he finds himself falling in love with her. Her father (Warren Oates), an overprotective widower, will not allow the relationship to blossom, even after Kit informs him of his decent intentions. This refusal triggers Kit into embarking on a murder spree across the Midwest. All the while, Holly is there by Kit's side, to witness the senseless crimes and ponder the future.<BR>BADLANDS is told from the point of view of the naive Holly, whose voice-over sounds like she's reading from a serial romance. It is this innocence that makes the detached, cold killings all the more shocking. Sheen portrays Kit--a dreamer who wants nothing more than to leave his mark on history--with a grace and humor that makes him a sympathetic character even while he's killing innocent strangers. All of this can be accredited to Malick, whose understated, seemingly simplistic direction adds an even greater emotional impact to the proceedings.