THE BAD BATCH
(director/writer: Ana Lily Amirpour; cinematographer: Lyle Vincent; editor: Alex O’Flinn; cast: Suki Waterhouse (Arlen), Jason Momoa(Miami Man), Giovanni Ribisi (The Screamer), Keanu Reeves(The Dream), Jim Carrey (Hermit), Yolonda Ross (Maria), Jayda Fink (Honey), Cory Roberts (Big Black Bridge Man), Louie Lopez (Chuy), Diego Luna(Jimmy); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Sina Sayyah/Danny Gabai; Neon; 2016)
“A creepy and self-indulgent dystopian fable.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A creepy and self-indulgent dystopian fable, in search of cult status, about the wasteland used as a refuge for society rejects and misfits by the prison authorities (on the urging of Trump followers). British-born writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour (“A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night”) makes a misfire that is so bad that it makes me question how I could have liked her previous tastefully done sublime film or hated so much on this one.
Set either in the future or in an alternative reality (as if it matters) we find the young adult Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is an undesirable serving her time as a Bad Batch inmate with an identifying tattoo number, in a fenced-in desert wasteland in Texas. When she wanders around the wastelan among the residents are weight-lifting cannibals, who capture her and amputate with a saw her arm and leg which becomes their supper. After Arlen violently escapes and flees on a skateboard from her chained bondage, she meets in the desert this huge muscle man with a prison-like chest tattoo, The Miami Man (Jason Momoa), the man responsible for her amputation and leader of the cannibal sect, a laconic tough guy who tries to keep mum about himself for most of the film. Throughout the whack story we meet wacko characters like Jim Carrey in a non-speaking role as a disheveled drifter, Giovanni Ribisi as a character named “The Screamer” for obvious reasons and the Keanu Reeves character called The Dream. He operates as the honcho from a tight security desert compound called Comfort, where he preaches like Jim Jones supposedly cool nonsense to his many loyal followers who reside there and depend on his supply of drugs to get them through the day. Comfort is a fenced-in area guarded by hordes of gun-toting pregnant woman wearing t-shirts proclaiming, “The Dream is Inside Me.” The crazy story builds with no tension but continuous violence and craziness, as Arlen and Miami Man team up to bring back his kidnapped daughter (Jayda Fink) from Comfort. Everything about this low-level sleazy grindhouse arthouse film is awkward, tacky and dissolute. It’s a sloppily made film posing as a far out one, but has no gravitas, a lousy story and second-rate acting that would seemingly work best in a ‘snuff’ film. But it’s a one-of-a-kind movie, that some might find works as a satire.
REVIEWED ON 12/18/2017 GRADE: C https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/