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Review: The Bad Batch an unflinching critique of American despotism

Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) and Miami Man (Jason Momoa) brace for a fight in The Bad Batch.

Merrick Morton/Globe and Mail Update

2.5 out of 4 stars

The Bad Batch
Written by
Ana Lily Amirpour
Directed by
Ana Lily Amirpour
Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa and Keanu Reeve

Ana Lily Amirpour's second feature film, The Bad Batch, is nothing like her first. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was a subtle, spooky, vampire western shot in black and white. To be sure, there is nothing understated about The Bad Batch. It's a trippy, sun-scorched apocalyptic horror film with a rom-com finish that gets as bloody, visceral and cannibalistic as its U.S. R rating will allow. The film stars British model Suki Waterhouse and the hulking Jason Momoa as antagonistic love interests in a washed-out desert town cruelly named "Comfort," with brief appearances by Jim Carrey and Keanu Reeves that shimmer like fool's gold. Shot two years before the election of America's 45th president, The Bad Batch is prescient in its depiction of a society of outcasts whose crimes (real and imagined) see them rounded up and banned as a bad batch of un-citizens. No character goes unscathed in this brutally violent movie, but Amirpour is especially careless with her black subjects – a painful misstep in an otherwise clear-eyed, unflinching critique of American despotism.

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