Film Review: “The Bad Batch” (2017) ★★★★★

Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) and Miami Man (Jason Momoa) brace for a fight in THE BAD BATCH. Courtesy of NEON.

“I am hungry and I want spaghetti” is the only thing you will hear that is close enough to food.  Everything else in Ana Lily Amirpour’s The Bad Batch that will be eaten is human meat. So in case if you have not had dinner, just skip it. You will have to swallow and digest through this stylish, dystopian horror film.

The Bad Batch follows Arlen (Suki Waterhouse), a young woman who tries to find her way out of the enormous land of Texas, finds herself in the hand of cannibals. Minutes after the opening scene, a gruesome scene offers the viewer Arlen’s hand that’s being cut and cooked for lunch, or even for dinner. Later on, her knee is gone as well. But she is still alive… kept on purpose as fresh meat to be eaten sometime later.

Shortly after, when Arlen is still being kept in captivity, she finds other abducted people who, like her, are missing part of their bodies.  Unlike Arlen, all of them seem to have given up and are ready to be served as food. The young woman, however, decides to fight back and escapes the cannibals… but how she does that is truly amazing and something even a complete person would not be able to do what she did.…

That’s when her acquaintances occur with the mysterious Miami Man, played by Jason Momoa, who by the way was the lead of the same cannibals band Arlen escapes from. Still in desert, when Arlen finds the little girl, Miami Man’s daughter, she takes the child with her thinking she is just saving her life. But from that moment on, her quest takes her to a different direction where she will have to cooperate with Momoa’s character in order to save her own life.

The Bad Batch took me by surprise, however, that feeling of unexpectedness quickly disappeared when on the horizon the name of Ana Lily Amirpour appeared. Her directorial debut A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) feature film that I own in my collection (which has only exquisite films) and this one was exquisite too. Nevertheless, her new film is the best by far in many ways: its concept, cinematography, aka wild-wild-west storyline, where a man-eats-man is the only way to survive for those who have been rejected by society.

The makeup in The Bad Batch is outstanding. Giovanni Ribisi or Jim Carey were unrecognisable, not only through their look, but the performance as well. Too unfortunate that they did not have enough of screening time so we could continue admiring them. Suki Waterhouse was well casted as Arlen whose vulnerability, boldness and fearless attitude helps her to go as far as she could having one leg and hand only. Through her journey, you learn the dystopian life where a nightmarish view of American existence is narrowed to eating people as the only reason to survive….

Having said that, The Bad Batch is another well-directed and in many ways a brilliant film where there are only minimal dialogues , beautiful soundtrack and stunning scenery that tells you more than you would need to know. Its shocking revelation and how people try to survive in once well-advanced country is something nobody would like to look forward to see. But if you do though, The Bad Batch is a good exercise to start learning to survive in the jungle called Planet Earth.


One thought on “Film Review: “The Bad Batch” (2017) ★★★★★

  1. I sadly had some real issues with the picture – even though it clearly inspired my new icon / avatar. I agree the cinematography was first-rate, and the lack of dialogue really suited the narrative. My big issue is the overall plotting and structure, and the fact that when there is dialogue it comes across as distractingly weak, puts the story on hold rather than moving it forward. Momoa’s accent is also off-puting, though model Waterhouse was a refreshing leading lady, showing angst and anguish appropriate to the film’s themes. I loved Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, and as clearly talented as she is, the Iranian/American director was some way off with The Bad Batch in comparison.

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