The Bad Batch [2016]

I was deeply impressed by Lily Anna Amipour’s first film A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night and so when I saw a second film by her it shot right to the top of my selections. The elevator-pitch for this film is that it’s set in one of those fantasy prisons like New York in Escape from New York where all the bad people are just rounded up and left to it. This prison is somewhere in West Texas – miles of burning plains. The Bad Batch feels like a post-apocalyptic tale about what kind of society could emerge.

The things I liked about AGWHAAN film are all present in this one, but somehow it really didn’t work for me at all. The post-apocalyptic genre is less focused, more dissolute than the Vampire genre, so it was much harder to see the scenes that she had replaced with silence, much harder to understand to what she was responding with her alternate vision. I never found myself confused exactly – as she said in the Q&A afterwards, the story is tightly constructed even if there’s no dialogue. But I found myself wondering what the point of it was – more bemused than confused, if that distinction makes sense. I didn’t care about any of the characters, and I wasn’t ever too interested in what they might do or what might happen to them.

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