The Bad Batch
The Bad Batch is a 2016 American black comedy thriller film directed and written by Ana Lily Amirpour. The film stars Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Jim Carrey, Giovanni Ribisi, Diego Luna, and Keanu Reeves.
|The Bad Batch|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ana Lily Amirpour|
|Written by||Ana Lily Amirpour|
|Edited by||Alex O'Flinn|
A young woman named Arlen is dropped inside a locked, fenced-in desert where people being deemed undesirable by society (the "bad batch") are forced to fend for themselves. A sign declares that the area is considered outside of the U.S., and that American laws and citizenship no longer apply. Arlen is soon kidnapped by two women in a golf cart. When she wakes chained up, a woman cuts off her right arm and leg. Arlen later tricks the woman into unchaining her, kills her, observes cannibalism of human limbs, and escapes on a skateboard. She is rescued in the desert by a mute hermit who takes her to a makeshift town named Comfort.
Five months later a healed Arlen now has a prosthetic leg and a home in Comfort. She walks out to the desert with a pistol. She sees a golf cart similar to the one used by the cannibals who captured her, and finds a woman and little girl scavenging in a garbage dump. Accusing the woman of being part of the cannibal community, Arlen shoots her in the head. She takes the girl back to Comfort, observed by the hermit. In Comfort, Arlen takes a hallucinogen at a rave held by The Dream, the cult-like leader of Comfort, and loses track of the child, who is taken in by The Dream. Meanwhile, Miami Man, a leader of the cannibals, and the father of the girl, goes looking for her, finding the dead woman. The hermit, in exchange for a portrait, informs Miami Man to "find Comfort." Hallucinating, Arlen wanders out into the desert, where Miami Man finds her. Upon threat of death, he demands that she find his daughter in Comfort.
Arlen and Miami Man grow closer on their journey to Comfort, with Arlen beginning to look longingly at him. He kills another cannibal who's looking to trade gasoline for her flesh, and reveals that he was put into the lawless territory because he was an illegal immigrant from Cuba. However, another man shoots Miami Man in the chest, and rescues a somewhat reluctant Arlen back to Comfort. She searches for the girl, eventually discovering she is living in The Dream's mansion, along with his large harem of pregnant, young women. Arlen visits The Dream, who explains that Comfort's economy is run on the drugs his concubines make, and that Comfort is free of feces because of the plumbing he provides. Arlen agrees to join his harem, but then uses a pistol she has hidden inside her prosthetic to hold one of the pregnant concubines hostage, managing to extract the girl. They head out of Comfort in a golf cart, and soon reunite with Miami Man, who had been found and healed by the hermit. The child and Miami Man blissfully reunite, and Arlen implies she would rather stay with him in the desert than in Comfort. Miami Man tries to discourage her, deeming her unable to survive out in the harsh desert; but does not send her away. The daughter asks for spaghetti, as she had started to grow accustomed to good things in the mansion. Instead, Miami Man takes his daughter's pet rabbit, and later the three of them lounge by a fire eating it. Miami Man rubs his teary daughter's back, and then he and Arlen look into each other's eyes, smiling.
In January 2015, Ana Lily Amirpour was announced to be directing the film, while Megan Ellison would produce under her Annapurna Pictures banner, and Danny Gabai and Sina Sayyah would produce under their Vice Films banner. In March 2015, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, Jason Momoa, Suki Waterhouse, and Diego Luna joined the film.
The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 6, 2016. Shortly after, Netflix and Screen Media Films acquired SVOD and theatrical distribution rights to the film, respectively. However, Neon later acquired distribution rights to the film. The film also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2016. It was released in a limited release on June 23, 2017 and was made available on Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes on June 22, 2017. The Bad Batch DVD and Blu-ray were released on September 19, 2017.
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On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film had an approval rating of 42% based on 84 reviews, with a weighted average of 5.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "The Bad Batch has its moments, but it's too thinly written and self-indulgent to justify its length or compensate for its slow narrative drift." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 62 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Guy Lodge of Variety gave the film a negative review, writing that "though there's much to savor in the pic's lavishly distressed visuals and soundscape, its narrative feels increasingly stretched and desultory." Lee Marshall of Screen International also gave the film a negative review, concluding that "the story runs out of steam – with a full ninety minutes still to go." David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter concluded that "the movie is overlong and not without draggy patches, but it's sustained enough to keep you watching."
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- Rooney, David (September 6, 2016). "'The Bad Batch': Venice Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 23, 2017.