Daily News header

Badland Film Review

by Kam Williams


Psychological Drama Examines Toll Iraq War Takes on Returning Vet

Jerry (Jamie Draven) was just a patriotic country boy from the Badlands of Montana trying to serve his country when he naively enlisted in the Marine Reserves as a teenager. But he was never the same after being discharged from the military following the last of several tours of duty in the Middle East, which began with the first Gulf War, then Afghanistan, and ended back to Iraq.

For during that last campaign, he participated in a My Lai- style massacre which has left him haunted by nightmares and nosebleeds ever since his return. This Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has also prevented him from controlling his rage, holding a job, or functioning again as a husband and father to his wife, Nora (Vinessa Shaw) and three young children.

Feeling more and more estranged from this husband she no longer recognizes, Nora comes to resent his very presence in the home. Things come to head the day he discovers that she's betrayed him. Of course, it doesn't help any that she's so fed up by then that she blurts out, "You should have died over there. You would've been better off."


Unamused and infuriated, Jerry impulsively shoots his wife dead right on the spot, and quickly kills his sons, too. But when the gun misfires instead of blowing nine year-old Celina's (Grace Fulton) brains out, he experiences a moment of sanity and decides not only to spare his little girl's life but to make his getaway with her in tow.

So, unfolds the tortoise-paced Badland, the latest in a long line of preachy anti-war anthems. This picture's primary problem is that it's way to long, clocking in at almost three years. At least half the celluloid should have hit the editing room floor, since this one-trick road flick revolves around Jerry's constantly contemplating suicide and belatedly bonding with his daughter while eluding the authorities.

During his escape, he is befriended by Oli (Chandra West), a cute café owner with a heart of gold who has no clue that the vet is deranged capable of going off again. Director Francesco Lucento repeatedly relies on leveraging Jerry's mental instability to maintain the tension. But this becomes tiring after an hour, boring after two, and torture by Badland's closing credits.

To top it all off, the film's resolution turns on a rabbit-out-of-the-hat headscratcher you never see coming. PTSD as more of mind game than reality.

Fair (1 star)
Rated R for pervasive profanity and some disturbing violence.
Running time: 160 minutes
Studio: Copex/Archangelo Entertainment

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Movie reviewer Kam Williams interviews actor Marlon Wayans about his new movie, A Haunted House 2 and shares it with NewsBlaze readers around the world.
Movie reviewer Kam Williams gives the film, Small Time 3 stars. He said it is very good and realistic, a slice-of-life drama highlighting the plight of a teen with a hole in his soul who's understandably torn between moving on with his life.
Kam Williams reviews The Railway Man, an introspective story of Eric Lomax, one of 60,000+ POWs forced to build the Burma Railway, known as the Death Railway, because so many died.
Movie review Kam Williams interviews Bridget Moynahan about the movie Small Time. Here she talks about the coming-of-age drama co-starring Christopher Meloni, Devon Bostick and Dean Norris.
Prairie Miller talks to filmmaker Lars von Trier discussing what this work in progress several years ago at Cannes, may or may not have to do with Hitler, heresy, hedonism and existential despair - before being booted from the festival.
Prairie Miller talks to people's performer David Rovics on guitar in his musical depiction of that insurrectionary time with his song, Landlord.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site