The Bad Batch – Film Review

Rating: 1 / 5 stars

What’s it about?
The Bad Batch is a survival drama directed by Ana Lily Amirpour starring Suki Waterhouse and Jason Momoa in the lead roles.
Set in a dystopian future, all criminals are dubbed as The Bad Batch and are cast out of the United States into a barren wasteland where they have to survive on their own and are not allowed back into society. The film follows Arlen, who gets captured by cannibals as soon as she is released into the wasteland. In spite of losing her hand and leg to the cannibals, she escapes from their clutches and ventures out into the unknown desert terrain not knowing if she will survive the day. How she manages to survive  and make a place for herself in this new world is what the film is about.

What’s Good?
The first act of the film is decent as we see our protagonist battling for her survival in a harsh environment filled with cannibals who are hell bent on eating her. These portions of the film are the best bits and introduces the viewer to the world in which the film is set. The art direction is good and the camerawork is decent although a tad indulgent at times.

What’s Not?
After the first act, the film starts becoming indulgent in its storytelling as the shots get longer and longer with the viewer waiting to see what happens, only to see a character walk into the frame. It feels like the director indulged the cameraman a bit too much. The lead character keeps on rambling random things while staring at the stars in what feels like a very long drug induced trip and this sequence alone is enough to check the viewer out of the film. Also, the story is all over the place. What starts off as a dystopian survival drama, changes into a revenge flick, then changes into a lost and found story, and then again changes into a love story. And these changes do not happen organically. They feel quite jarring and leaves the viewer fuming at what is unfolding on screen. Also the slow and lethargic way the film unfolds tests the patience of the viewer and prevents us from investing in the story.

Performances
Suki Waterhouse as Arlen is a mixed bag. She makes for a decent protagonist in some parts of the film but comes of as a frustratingly weird person otherwise. Arlen does not have any character arc whatsoever and the actress tries to make the role work but the film fails her. Jason Momoa does not do much talking and shows limited acting range, but has a larger than life physicality that works for his role. Jim Carrey as a drifter in the wastelands is good. Keanu Reeves is saddled with bad dialogues about human excreta that goes on and on and the actor gamely tries to make it work. Rest of the cast are OK in their respective roles.

Final Word

An indulgent and slow film that goes nowhere, this is one of the worst films of the year and a waste of time for the film-goer.


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