Kit throws garbage for a living. Everything is disposable to him. He is disposable. Society cannot hold him because he's completely divorced from it. But he looks like James Dean. And he wants to live forever. He's got this restless energy that can't go anywhere and isn't held back by anything. Hollywood + Poverty + Will-To-Power = HERE BE MONSTERS.

Holly is a gawky school girl, no friends to speak of, completely under the thumb of her father. But Kit looks like Martin Sheen looking like James Dean. And Kit is into her! Isn't that how young love goes? The pretty boy from the wrong side of town? Romeo and Juliet? Bonnie and Clyde? No matter how surreal and horrible the reality gets, Holly clings on to those epic romantic myths. She'll faithfully follow Kit to the end, because he needs her. Isn't that what love is about?

Both characters believe in the myths of themselves. They are kids on an adventure -- Treasure Island with Cadillacs and shotguns. Terrence Malick's innovation is in presenting their killing spree in this cool, detached haze. The events are so extraordinary that neither character really sees them.

And neither does anyone else, in the end. America gets swept up in their story, and the death toll is forgotten. Kit becomes a star, and another variant on the myths America tells itself is added to the canon.

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