If dystopian cinema is your favorite kind of movie, then you need to put The Bad Batch on your Netflix watch list. This 2016 sci-fi thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat as you watch Suki Waterhouse fend for her life while some of Hollywood’s biggest A-listers make special appearances. Starring Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, and Jim Carrey, The Bad Batch will take you on a mind-bending journey through a desert wasteland where survival becomes a primal instinct.
The Bad Batch – starring Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, and Suki Waterhouse — is streaming on Netflix.
The movie’s premise centers around Arlen, portrayed by Suki Waterhouse, a young woman banished to a barren desert beyond Texas. This desolate land serves as a dumping ground for society’s undesirables, also called “the bad batch.” American laws and citizenship no longer apply here, where anarchy and cannibalism reign supreme.
Arlen’s harrowing journey in The Bad Batch begins when she’s captured by a group of cannibals and narrowly escapes their clutches, though she loses her arm and leg in the process. Next, her path leads her to Comfort, an eccentric settlement led by a charismatic figure played by Keanu Reeves. However, survival in this unforgiving terrain comes at a price, and Arlen finds herself entangled in a web of moral ambiguity, alliances, and unexpected connections.
David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter acknowledged the film’s occasional drag but praised its overall captivating nature, acknowledging that it “keeps you watching.”
The Bad Batch boasts an ensemble cast from some of Hollywood’s most famous — and most enigmatic — actors, who have the ability to add layers of complexity to the characters. From Jason Momoa’s fierce portrayal of the cannibal leader, Miami Man, to Jim Carrey’s unexpected role as a mute hermit, the cast delivers performances that immerse audiences into this bleak world.
Keanu Reeves’ mystifying character as a cult leader adds an aura of mystery and intrigue, while Diego Luna’s uncredited cameo is a satisfying easter egg for fans to find.
The Bad Batch’s production was a collaboration between Annapurna Pictures and Vice Films, with a modest budget of $6 million. Principal photography kicked off in Los Angeles in April 2015, with additional shots in Niland and Bombay Beach, California. The filmmakers masterfully transformed these locations into the post-apocalyptic landscape that serves as the backdrop for Arlen’s struggle for survival.
Mostly distributed at film festivals and available for streaming on Netflix, The Bad Batch was only given a limited theatrical release, where it made a little over $200K. The film made its world premiere at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, where it competed for the prestigious Golden Lion and won the Special Jury Prize.
However, upon wider release, critics’ opinions on The Bad Batch were mixed. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 46 percent approval rating, with praises for its distinctive visuals and soundscape but critiques for its pacing and narrative.
As audiences venture into this wasteland of uncertainty alongside Arlen, they’re reminded of the complexity of humanity and the haunting allure of survival against all odds.
Guy Lodge of Variety appreciated The Bad Batch’s visual and auditory elements but found fault with its pacing, suggesting it was “too thinly written and self-indulgent.” On the other hand, David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter acknowledged the film’s occasional drag but praised its overall captivating nature, acknowledging that it “keeps you watching.”
Beneath its gritty surface, The Bad Batch delves into themes of survival, morality, and human connection. The movie challenges viewers to question societal norms and the lengths one would go to survive in a lawless world. The relationships that form in this bleak landscape are as unexpected as they are touching, showcasing the resilience of the human spirit even in the direst circumstances.
The Bad Batch might not be the next Mad Max, but its impact on dystopian cinema remains significant. Its daring narrative choices, distinctive visual style, and thought-provoking themes are enough to convince any dystopian movie buff to stick this film on their watch list. As audiences venture into this wasteland of uncertainty alongside Arlen, they’re reminded of the complexity of humanity and the haunting allure of survival against all odds.
In a cinematic landscape often saturated with familiar stories, The Bad Batch dares to be different. Ana Lily Amirpour’s directorial vision and the committed performances of the cast paint a vivid picture of a world where societal norms have crumbled, leaving behind a harsh terrain where survival becomes the ultimate prize. Whether you’re drawn in by its enigmatic characters, its mesmerizing visuals, or its exploration of the human condition, The Bad Batch is undeniably a journey worth taking.