Title: The Bad Batch
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Starring: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Giovanni Ribisi, Yolonda Ross, Cory Roberts, Louie Lopez, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey.
Ana Lily Amirpour’s latest film is an anthropophagous dystopian fairytale, set in a Texas wasteland where society’s rejects are just trying to make ends meet…or it would be more appropriate to say meAt.
‘The Bad Batch’ tells the story of Arlen (Suki Waterhouse), a girl wandering through this savage desert setting. She is one of thousands of Americans deemed unacceptable to society, who is unceremoniously dumped into the hostile place. In this inimical environment, Arlen is captured by a barbaric band of cannibals and quickly realises she’ll have to fight for her very existence in a human-eat-human world.
Amirpour’s anticipated follow-up to ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’ leans towards the direction of sensationalistic horror, using the genre as a springboard for an unconventional social commentary. However the excess of human butchering has a counter effect.
‘The Bad Batch’ depicts a radical and nightmarish America, exploring the limits of survival, supported by a soaring musical score and electrifying visuals. On the other hand the story lacks direction and the pundit’s critique becomes evanescent. Especially when the adventure turns into a ridiculously grotesque romance.
Suki Waterhouse does commit to an intense performance, but even without two of her limbs she doesn’t seem to lose her catwalk stride. Similarly, Jason Momoa seems to be more concerned about flaunting his bodybuilder physique, rather than focusing on his character’s loss and pursuit. Keanu Reeves too, conveys little emotional depth. But in his case it is very fitting for the role he plays. On the contrary Jim Carrey is the cynosure of the film, disfigured and unrecognisable, without even muttering a word he is the most magnetic of them all.
Amirpour’s attempt to create a psychedelic modern-day spaghetti western backslides, as it ironically embodies its title: this film turns out to be the utmost “Bad Batch” of horror thrillers that try to critique today’s society.
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi