Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Bad Batch

Movie Name: The Bad Batch
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Stars: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Jayda Fink, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, Yolonda Ross, Giovanni Ribisi, Louie Lopez Jr., Aye Hasegawa
Genre: Drama, Horror, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 1
View Trailer

Director Ana Lily Amirpour made a name for herself with the well received "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night", which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and went on to be a staple at a multitude of film festivals during 2014 and 2015. For her follow up feature the director went in a somewhat different direction. The film focuses on the story of Arlen, a young woman who finds herself in a desert wasteland. She is soon captured, and we come to realize she's the target of a small community of cannibals, who take one of her arms and legs, before she manages to escape. With the assistance of a hermit/wanderer, she finds herself in a town named Comfort, where she manages to recover, and even get a prosthetic leg. The town is governed by a man with the name of "The Dream", who rules the town through a supply of drugs, mixed with staged parties. Arlen during one of her walks, stumbles upon one of the cannibals who attacked her, who is rummaging through garbage with her daughter. Arlen's reaction sets a series of events in place.
"The Bad Batch" is a film that promises more than it delivers. It starts by introducing a bleak and post apocalyptic dystopian future, with survivors living in a deserted wasteland. The central hero, a young woman, is immediately put through a difficult situation, which she manages to overcome. However, during the entirety of the film, the character never really amounts to much, both in terms of motivation, nor in terms of understanding what her actions and interests actually are. It's a film that basically gives the actors very little to do, providing suggestions to what they should behave like or look like, without anchoring them in a world that is sufficiently well developed or established. The film tries to be a derivative of George Miller's "Mad Max", but lacks everything in terms of character dynamics, and even context establishment. The film contains certain stylistic flourishes, but aside from that, it's a resounding lesson on how to squander talented actors and a decent budget on something that is instantly forgettable.