It’s often fun to watch films that you know absolutely nothing about but they could ultimately go either way.
Synopsis: Arlen has been left in a Texas wasteland fenced off from civilization. While trying to navigate the unforgiving landscape, Arlen is captured by a savage band of cannibals led by the mysterious Miami Man. With her life on the line, she makes her way to The Dream. As she adjusts to life in ‘The Bad Batch’ Arlen discovers that being good or bad mostly depends on who’s standing next to you. (Mongrel Media)
Starring: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, and Keanu Reeves
Writer: Ana Lily Amirpour
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Running Time: 118mins
Early on, it was pretty easy to tell that this type of film isn’t for everyone, present company included, but that’s okay as not all films have to be. The film is definitely original and should be applauded for this. The film takes place in a fenced off Texas wasteland where a group of people made up of those who were deemed undesirable called The Bad Batch were forced to fend for themselves. A young woman named Arlen (Waterhouse) was left to fend for herself amongst this wasteland.
One noticeable part about the film was the lack of dialogue during stretches. That isn’t necessary a bad thing, however, as the scenery and characters’ facial expressions and body language did a lot of the talking and helped to fill in some of these gaps. Now this can only go so far which may test the patience of some viewers since the pace of the film was on the slower side (perhaps being too long as well) and it was hard to tell what was going on until much later into the film.
Arlen was a compelling character to watch unfortunately the payoff wasn’t there. It seemed like the story was trying be profound but it just got lost in the general craziness of the wasteland. The wasteland was definitely crazy with Arlen going from a gang of cannibals led by a man named Miami Man (Momoa) to a place named Comfort and a cult led by a man known only as The Dream (Reeves). She thought she had escaped the cannibals although Miami Man was not done with her once his daughter Honey (Jayda Fink) became involved.
While she was seemingly safe in Comfort (probably some other meaning here), there was just something about Miami Man that kept drawing her to him. Her motivations here weren’t the most clear as she appeared to be dissatisfied with where she was so she would wander in search of meaning. The problem with their relationship was that it felt forced because both lacked chemistry with one another. Besides Arlen but barely, most of the characters were underdeveloped to the point that they were hard to care about. The film focused so much on Arlen that it poorly established the wasteland and the characters within it.
The acting was good across the board. The story may not have always been there but it wasn’t boring to watch. Waterhouse was good as Arlen, especially carrying the film early on. Momoa was okay as Miami man despite not being much to his character. His accent wasn’t the best either. Reeves was good as The Dream. He was rather one-dimensional as a character, however, he was still an entertaining presence in what little we got of him. Jim Carrey and Diego Luna also appear in memorable smaller roles.
Overall, this was an okay film that will surely mean more to fans of cult films. The story was messy and the world poorly established but was still sort of compelling to watch thanks to decent acting and some beautiful cinematography.
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