Cannibalism, amputees, Jason Mamoa, and a Cult leader / DJ called The Dream, who lures people into a false sense of sanctity played by Keanu Reeves.
Throw in a dash Giovani Ribisi’s quirkiness and Jim Carrey playing an estranged hermit living on the outer rim and you have all the ingredients that take up Ana Lily Armipour’s sophomore outing following A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night.
Both The Bad Batch and Armipour’s previous effort deal with isolation and the notion of the outsider struggling to fit into a post-apocalyptic world.
In this instance, The Bad Batch sees Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) as our protagonist, forced to suffer an early ordeal at the hands of a family of cannibals living by their own means in a desert landscape.
In what feels like a deviation from what the trailer and film write-up had promised, Arlen soon resolves her predicament albeit with the loss of her arm and leg on her road to recovery.
And therein lies the beginning of a series of thinly-veiled metaphors that are riddled throughout the movie.
One could forgive this, if the plot line was strong enough to carry you through buy even this falls on the light side, so much so that the films failings become even more noticeable.
Not that it doesn’t have some strong points. Armipour certainly has a strong eye for creating some visual imagery from Arlen’s pop-culture style shorts to The Dream’s trance-like rhythms. Plus, you know, the whole Jason Mamoa brooding thing.
Whilst part of me really wanted to like like this film, because I genuinely like Armipour’s style and strongly believe that she is a talent to watch with a keen eye, ultimately The Bad Batch struggles and much like Arlen limps its way to finding a conclusion or a way to ‘fit-in’.
Having said that, I don’t believe the movie needs to bow to conformity.
In doing so would go against the grain of the filmmakers vision.
With a little more time though, Armipour could well have crafted a stronger narrative that would have continued her unique style and story.
Instead it comes across as a unfinished symphony a half thought, waiting to be voiced with any sense of clarity as we’re left trailing like a tumbleweed in the wind.
- Paul Farrell