The Bad Batch
Film: The Bad Batch (2017)
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Stars: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Jayda Fink
IMDB Synopsis: A dystopian love story in a Texas wasteland and set in a community of cannibals.
This film is gorgeous. That’s the first thing that has to be mentioned. The director of the film, the director of photography, the site scout, all of these should get top billing. This film is a long, trippy ride through a heated desert scape that almost induces sweats in a chilled movie theater. The desert, likely of west Texas, is also something that needs to be mentioned as it is as big a star of the film as any of the actors.
The film really should be considered two separate genres. It is squarely set in a dystopian universe, in a dystopian version of the world, but with no back story. There is no lead up as to why much of the premise exists. Part of that makes it so great. This film not only takes the dystopian genre to a new level, it takes it to a more realistic level. When you look at a Salvador Dali painting, most people see the complete craziness of a world where time melts. But there are other paintings where there is something small different about the surrealism of the world. This film is set in a dystopian backdrop, but is shot like a Luc Besson Surrealist take on a classic literature piece. The colors pop, the sounds red-line immediately. The audio takes you direct from imminent terror to impending ecstasy.
The lack of dialog in the film causes the dialog, as limited as it is, to shine. The whole script must have read like a film treatment. I would assume the entire script was only 40% of dialog, with 60% set and shot direction, and the detail paid to each angle, each shot shows. Every word carries the weight of a dump truck laden with boulders. Even the smallest exchange hits you like a speeding train of meaning and relevance. The lack of dialog makes every facial expression, shift of the hips, and squaring of shoulders yell with symbolism.
This is art, pure and simple. It isn’t just an example of Cinematic Art, it’s an example of Art. It has pieces you can tell are inspired by other greats, however Ms. Amirpour has crafted a cinematic experience that has great potential to live on as a cult hit for many years.