“You don’t see things how they are. You only see things how you are.”Miami Man
Following the success of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, which showcased a unique vision and flair for visual storytelling, Ana Lily Amirpour’s second feature is more ambitious in scope and frustratingly uneven. A bold opening twenty minutes with barely a word of dialogue follows Arlen as she is ejected from society into a desert wasteland and captured by cannibals. As time goes on, however, Suki Waterhouse’s sullen and confused expression makes Arlen a strange choice of lead despite some parallels with Alice tumbling down the rabbithole — and a disabled protagonist portrayed in an attractive light is welcome. Although beautifully shot with some big names turning in eccentric performances, the worldbuilding suffers from lack of breadth — that the expansive desert feels mostly empty is perhaps the point, as options for life in a harsh environment are limited without society, but we see a limited view of the communities that do exist. As a result, although some arresting images will no doubt linger, when the credits roll The Bad Batch‘s meandering musings largely scatter like sand in the wind.