Meewella | Critic

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Tag: Ana Lily Amirpour

QuickView: Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon (2021)

“Why do you think you’re in charge?”

Mona ‘Lisa’ Lee

Ana Lily Amirpour’s third feature film is in some ways an amalgamation of her first two: the striking A Girl Walks Home Alone at Midnight and the frustratingly uneven The Bad Batch. When it comes to protagonists, Amirpour certainly has a type: strong, laconic women — survivors in a strange world. Blood Moon follows Mona over a several nights after she escapes a mental institution and finds herself in New Orleans. Louisiana may be my second home but this version of the city is unrecognisable — an oversaturated hyper-reality that seems to exist almost entirely by night (actually that part might be accurate). Mona’s overpowered mind control is revealed in the opening scene, meaning that the audience is never really concerned for her safety, driven more by a morbid curiosity as to how much havoc she will wreak. Since she barely speaks, the void is filled by a handful of colourful supporting characters, most notably Kate Hudson’s avericious stripper and Ed Skrein’s sensitive dealer. Amirpour’s writing retains the ability to surprise, with humour derived from absurdity, like a low-speed chase between a cop in a leg brace and a stripper shuffling in platform heels. From these ingredients, Blood Moon’s concoction is an improvement over the The Bad Batch but is still style over substance.


QuickView: The Bad Batch (2016)

“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.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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