The Bad Batch (2016)

The Bad Batch
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Writer: Ana Lily Amirpour
Cast: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Jayda Fink, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, Yolonda Ross, Aye Hasegawa, Giovanni Ribisi, Diego Luna
Seen on: 28.12.2017

Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is released into the Texan desert, a wasteland where all of the undesirables are sent to and have to weather not only the harsh climate but also each other to survive. It doesn’t take long and Arlen is captured by cannibals led by Miami Man (Jason Momoa). But even though she doesn’t escape unharmed, Arlen does manage to escape and find her way in this cruel world.

I wasn’t a big fan of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Amirpour’s first film. But The Bad Batch, her second film, was really bad: racist, ableist and boring.

I don’t even know where to start with this mess of a film. Maybe with the fact that the film doesn’t really have any substance at all. There are hints here and there that Amirpour attempted to be political with her dystopia and with Miami Man’s backstory, but the world-building, as much as it existed at all, was such a mess, that political points had no chance. And the characters were so flat and underdeveloped that personal points also stood no chance of being made coherently.

Especially Arlen made very little sense as a character. Her decisions were all over the place and she doesn’t really have any fixed personality: her character is whatever fancy struck at a particular moment. And she’s not the only one who suffers from this complete lack of coherence. When characters aren’t at odds with themselves, they are at odds with the film.

But that’s not where the problems stop. Miami Man is a pretty racist caricature, a point exarcerbated by casting Momoa as a Latino character (brown is brown, right). The way the black characters are treated is also problematic as fuck. And because racism isn’t enough, there’s a healthy dose of ableism thrown into the mix.

At least the movie looks pretty good and has some really nice images. The soundtrack is also quite nice, when it isn’t all in your face like “oh look how many cool pop songs I know”.  There are some good actors in supporting roles, but really, the movie doesn’t have enough to offer to make it worth it.

Summarizing: No.

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