The Bad Batch - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Bad Batch Reviews

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July 27, 2017
not for everyone but i enjoyed it immensely
July 24, 2017
Amirpour's film will and should be defining in her career, it's the epitome of her talent as an artist, as well as a strong defined stance on political and social commentary of the world we live in. The performances are strong. Subdued and frighteningly chaotic with a sense of gravity throughout, monologues are delivered with care and edge, with Reeves and Mamoa standing out strong. Waterhouse has little depth or charmisma and uncomfortable in her role, ultimately helping her performance in such a harrowing portrayal of dystopian nightmares. The cinematography and music are terrifically used with a poignant edge.
July 19, 2017
'The Bad Batch' is a long, ponderous & self-indulgent film with just a bunch of sets, locations & a primary cast but with no compelling story to tell.
½ July 18, 2017
Alright movie, not bad but not great either.
July 18, 2017
The story is too simple to keep interesting.
July 17, 2017
The movie is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, director Amirpour creates a visually rich, gritty and evocative world. On the other hand, the script is only half-way fleshed out in terms of the narrative and characters. The actors are solid and the style of the movie is captivating enough to hold one's interest, but one can't help feeling only slightly satisfied with the results. That being said, I look forward to seeing what Amirpour does next. She has the vision of a director that I want to follow.
½ July 17, 2017

Hoo boy. This movie requires some effort. What starts off as a brutal exploitation flick, surely to weed out the meek, evolves into an absorbing treatise on primal human conditions in a barren, deserted wasteland.

While Ana Lily Amipour's sophomore effort contains pulpy roots, littered with outrageous characters and circumstances, it also tackles some grand topics. Our white trashy heroine Arlen is unceremoniously turfed out of society to fend for herself behind a Texan fence, where lawlessness and depravity are the rule of the day. She is soon captured by a tribe of cannibals, and mayhem ensues.

Dystopian futures as these don't seem all that far fetched any more. "The Bad Batch" may serve as a warning, but chiefly it serves as dusty entertainment. Much like the "Mad Max" franchise, it is a world full of crazies scrambling to survive in glorious sunbaked vistas.

Sporting a primo porn stash, Keannu Reeves pops up as a bizarro, robe clad cult leader. Giovanni Ribisi slips in several rambling, asylum escapee diatribes, but it is an unrecognizable Jim Carrey who absolutely steals the movie as a wizened bagman.

"The Bad Batch" has the art junk, lost inhibition, drug and music orgy feel of Burning Man, and because it's stealthily asking tough questions, has much more going for it than the cheap veneer may indicate.

- hipCRANK
July 16, 2017
Set in a dystopian future where criminals are left to fend for themselves in an unregulated sanctuary; this tries to show the conflicts that might rise between rival factions. The bases are there but the movie fails to develop any story line past the premise. Despite the stellar cast and breathtakingly beautiful shots of Big Bend National Park in Texas, The Bad Batch provides a snippet and nothing more. Disappointing
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ July 15, 2017
Days after viewing writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour's The Bad Batch, I'm still contemplating what I just saw. That can be the sign of a good, thought-provoking movie, or it could be further proof that The Bad Batch is really an empty experience.

In a not-too-distant future, the United States has found a unique solution to crime. Those deemed irredeemable are tattooed with "bad batch" and abandoned into the American Southwest. It's a dusty land of outlaws that the U.S. doesn't even recognize. Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is deposited into the wastes of the Southwest and she is abducted by cannibals who make a meal out of her right arm and leg. She escapes and finds Comfort, a small outpost where she can heal and find community. The makeshift leader of Comfort is The Dream (Keanu Reeves), a messianic figure who doles out free drugs to the townspeople. He also has a harem of pregnant women. Miami Man (Jason Momoa), one of the hunkier cannibals, loses his daughter and forces Arlen to help him.

I'm going to summarize the sparse two-hour plot, dear reader, to share with you just how little there is to this film (will keep spoilers mild). Arlen gets kidnapped. She escapes. Months later she kills one of the cannibals. She quasi-adopts a little girl. Her father goes searching for her. Arlen loses the little girl. The father finds Arlen. They find the little girl who was unharmed. They eat a bunny. The end. Now admittedly any movie can sound rather flimsy when boiled down to its essential story elements (Star Wars: "Space farmer accepts call to adventure. Rescues princess.") but the counterbalance is substance. Characters, world building, arcs, plot structure, setups and payoffs, all of it opens up the film's story beats into a larger and transformative work. That's simply not there with The Bad Batch. It's a vapid film that has too much free time to fill, so you get several shots that are simply people riding motorcycles up to the camera. I grew restless waiting for something of merit to happen. Arlen simply just walks out into the desert like three different times, and this is after she was captured by roving cannibals that are still out there in healthy numbers. If you went to a store and the owner captured you and cut off your arm, would you venture back in that direction? Maybe there's a commentary about victimhood and the cycle of abuse and exploitation, or maybe I'm left to intuit some kind of grander implication out of a filmmaker's lack of effort. There's just not enough here to justify its running time. It feels stretched beyond the breaking point.

If the film is meant to be about immersion, something that holds together via hypnotic Lynchian dream logic, then it better work hard to hold my attention since plot has already been abandoned. This is where The Bad Batch also lost me. It's just not weird enough, though even weird-for-weird's-sake can be insufferable, like Harmony Korine's Gummo. Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home at Night) has an innate feel for visual arrangements and little quirky touches that can burn into your memory, like the sight of Arlen sidling next to a magazine clipping of a model's arm she taped to a mirror or a well-armed pregnant militia. The most interesting elements of the story are left unattended though. This is a vague dystopia where the government has decided to let the "bad batch" fend for themselves in a desert. It screams neo-Western with a lawless land populated with criminals and killers. There are only ever two locations we visit: the cannibal's junkyard and the outpost of Comfort. Do we know anything about these locations? Are they at war? Is there some kind of understanding between them wherein Comfort offers sacrifices for protection? Is there an uneasy peace that could be spoiled thanks to Arlen's vengeance? It's all just vast wasteland, but even when they get to actual places, it still feels like empty space. How can you make something about dystopian cannibals be this singularly boring?

The characters just aren't worth your attention and ultimately don't matter in service of story or even a potential message. Arlen is much more of a figurehead than a person, and perhaps that's why the director chose Waterhouse (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) as her lead. The former model certainly makes a visually striking figure and knows how to arc her body in non-verbal ways to communicate feelings. However, I don't know if there's a good actress here. There's no real reason to take away her arm and leg except that it looks cool and edgy. Initially it presents a visceral vulnerability for her and a disadvantage of escape, but after she arrives in Comfort, it's as if she's just any other able-bodied character. It feels like the director just liked the look and thought it would grab attention or say something meaningful. Momoa (Justice League) has a natural intimidating screen presence but he's given so little to do. He's just on glower autopilot. Miami Man is a killer and we watch him cook people's limbs for some good eats. It's almost like the movie wants you to forget this stuff when his paternal instincts kick in. Rather than embracing the light-and-dark contradictions, the movie just has him shift personality modes. There's no confrontation or introspection. Reeves (John Wick 2) gets an idea of a potentially menacing character but even he isn't presented as an antagonist. The Dream is living large thanks to the cooperation of those in Comfort. He has a harem of willing ladies for breeding but he doesn't seem dastardly. He's like the grown-up rich kid throwing the party that everyone attends. Then there are near cameos by Giovanni Ribisi, Jim Carrey, and Diego Luna, which make you wonder why they ever showed up.

The depressing part is that The Bad Batch starts off with a bang and had such potential. Amirpour is so assured early on and draws out the terror of Arlen's plight in a gripping and satisfying manner. Her drifting is then met by a futile escape, and then we witness the relatively tasteful dismembering of our heroine. It's disorienting but establishes the conflicts of the scene in a clear and concise fashion. The odds are against her and Arlen uses her captors underestimating her to supreme advantage. The opening twenty minutes are thrilling and well developed, presenting a capable protagonist and a dire threat. And then the movie just drops off the face of the Earth. I haven't seen a movie self-sabotage an interesting start like this since perhaps Danny Boyle's Sunshine. The first twenty minutes offer the audience a vantage point and set of goals. We're learning about Arlen through her desperate and clever acts of survival. The rest of the movie is just bland wandering without any sense or urgency or purpose exhibited in that marvelous opening (hey, the amputated limbs special effects look nice).

Vacuous and increasingly monotonous, The Bad Batch valiantly tries to create an arty mood piece where it re-purposes genre pastiche into some kind of statement on the broken human condition. Or something. The story is so thinly written and the characters are too blank to register. They're archetypes at best, walking accessories, pristine action figures given life and camera direction. It's flash and surface-level quirks with distressed art direction. It feels like it's trying so hard to be a cult movie at every turn. I'm certain that, not counting Keanu's cult leader, there might only be 100 words spoken in the entire film. I feel like The Bad Batch is going to be a favorite for plenty of young teenagers that respond to its style and general sense of rebellion. Until, that is, they discover movies can have both style and substance.

Nate's Grade: C-
July 12, 2017
A Masterpiece. Watch it over and over. Just like The Big Lebowski, this movie can be watch again and again. Beautiful like a painting, soundtrack very nice, nice acting, plot super. I signed up here just to recommend this movie. One of the only movie I enjoyed in past 20 years. Go see it, dont waste your money on crap marvels, they already have money, put instead support rare nice modern flicks! Dont hesitate. I enjoyed it so much that I am somehow trying to give back a little of their hard work who seem to not pay off. Dont need flashy crappy shit like Ghost Shell who you can only watch 1 time. This you can watch over and over it flows its beautiful and unique. Put it alongside Drive, Eyes Wide Shut, L'Argent, Holy Mountain, Une Femme Douce, I hope its gonna pick up with time, but people are stupid. People who lament on its story are just bad movie maker, people who always dont understand who they are.
-Robert Kubrick
July 12, 2017
After seeing the trailer, I'm curious
July 11, 2017
An enjoyable, tense, dark, twisted and ultimately uplifting film with a killer soundtrack. Not much in the way of plot and it definitely meanders along but it's so odd and fun and unlike other movies I just enjoyed being in it's presence.
July 10, 2017
well directed, but the story (not much)
July 9, 2017
What a stupid movie. I just didn't get it. I only rated it 1 star because Momoa is easy on the eyes.
July 8, 2017
It's like Escape from New York meets Priscilla Queen of the Desert... covered in dirt and feces.
July 8, 2017
Fun ,interesting almost post-apocalyptic-thriller. More dialog and plot could help.
July 4, 2017
I tried really hard to watch this movie, but I just can't seem to finish it... I couldn't help thinking how much more entertaining and fun it would be to trim my fingernails and deposit them into my eyes.
July 3, 2017
The fuck did I just see?
July 3, 2017
A really boring dystopian apocalyptic flick. It started ok and then it really nosedived into a right mess. Reeves goes all Pablo Escobar and his horrific performance is the only highlight. Blink and you might miss Jim Carrey, too.
July 2, 2017
Actors did well, the script did coke.
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