The Bad Batch (2016) Movie Review

Ever since I had first heard of Ana Lily Amirpour’s The Bad Batch, it has been something that I’ve looked forward to seeing. Recently, after much procrastination, I finally got around to checking out her debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night and I fell in love with it, which just made me want to see The Bad Batch even more, despite mixed reviews. Today I had the chance to check out The Bad Batch. Here are my thoughts.

The Bad Batch is the latest film from writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night 2014). The film stars Keanu Reeves (Matrix trilogy), Suki Waterhouse (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 2016), Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones TV series), Jayda Fink, Diego Luna (Rogue One 2016), Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective 1994), Yolanda Ross (Kiss Me Kill Me 2015) and Giovanni Ribisi (The Gift 2000).

A love story set in a community of cannibals in a future dystopia. In a desert wasteland in Texas, a muscled cannibal breaks one important rule: don’t play with your food.

The Bad Batch is not your typical post-apocalypse movie. The film takes place in a world not that far removed from our own, a world where undesirables are cast out into the desert waste land, labeled ‘The Bad Batch” and forced to fend for themselves. Some outcasts follow Keanu Reeves’ The Dream (part cult leader, part drug dealer, 100% grade A douche), while others fend for themselves and turn to murder, theft and cannibalism. Much like Amirpour’s previous film, there are no real good or bad guys here, only lighter and darker shades of grey. Everyone is a flawed character who does what they think is necessary to survive.

The film is pretty light on the gore, but there are some brutal moments here and there. Don’t go into The Bad Batch expecting an uber violent action packed film like Fury Road, because you will be disappointed. That isn’t what this is. This is a film about hopeless people tossed into a wasteland who have to figure out who they are and what their place is in the world while trying to survive the best they can.

The Bad Batch is full of interesting characters brought to life by a talented cast. Having not seen much of her work, I was pretty impressed with Suki Waterhouse’s performance as Arlen. She is a survivor. We aren’t given a whole lot of back story on her, but she is a certifiable badass, managing to defend herself despite the loss of an arm and a leg. She goes through a ton of growth over the course of the film, becoming a better person and even falling in love in a unique way.

Jason Momoa brought great depth and emotional weight to a character that easily could have been one-note. On the surface, he’s a stoic, give no fucks bastard, but really he’s a man who only cares about the survival of his daughter and will do anything to keep her safe, even resorting to cannibalism and murder, which he does pretty nonchalantly. He gets the most back story, and it definitely made him a sympathetic character. Keanu Reeves as The Dream is your typical cult leader-type who doesn’t believe his own bullshit but uses it to gain what he wants. Think Immortan Joe but with an epic, ’70s porn-stache. Jim Carrey and Giovanni Ribisi make the most out of their relatively brief screen time, stealing the show every time they pop up while delivering opposite performances. Carrey makes his character likable and funny without any dialogue. Ribisi’s performance is extremely over the top and manic and I loved his character.

Final Thoughts 

The Bad Batch wasn’t at all what I expected, and that isn’t really a bad thing. What I expected was an over the top, ridiculously gory, apocalyptic horror film. What I got was a relatively thoughtful film with an interesting cast of characters struggling to find themselves in a cruel world. Who can’t relate to that? If that sounds like your kind of film, than I highly recommend you check it out. After seeing Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night and The Bad Batch, I quite frankly can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.

About Charlie Cargile

Central Illinois based film journalist. Lover of cinema of all varieties but in love with films with an independent spirit. Elder Emo. Cat Dad. Metalhead.

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