In 1973, Malick made his feature-film debut with Badlands, loosely based on the 1958 killing spree of Charles Starkweather and Caril-Ann Fugate. Incorporating the naturalistic cinematography, elliptical storytelling and off-camera narration that would become Malick's hallmarks, the movie was deemed a masterpiece.
Malick followed up with Days of Heaven, an elegiac tale of corruption in America's heartland that won an Oscar for cinematography and a Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Two decades later, Malick netted two Oscar nods for his World War II drama The Thin Red Line (1998).
Drifting through life amid the hollowness of hedonistic Hollywood, an uninspired and unmoored screenwriter moves from one fleeting relationship to another as he seeks existential meaning.