A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Bad Batch is a somewhat experimental dystopian movie that deals with cannibalism, among other mature topics. So you can expect plenty of violence, including severed arms and legs, guns and shooting, dead bodies, blood spatters, beating, fighting, and stabbing. Images from a "nudie" magazine are shown (bare breasts and bottoms), as are shirtless male bodybuilders; dogs are seen mating in the street. Language isn't frequent but includes "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," and more. Characters smoke cigarettes and take what appears to be acid and have a hallucinogenic "trip." Viewers also see piles of pills and other drugs. Ultimately, it's an amazing but unusual movie that's really only for the most daring viewers; others will likely lose patience.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE BAD BATCH, Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is given a number tattoo, taken to a fence, and locked in. This is a dystopian world where the "bad batch" -- i.e. society's undesirables -- is sent to the desert to fend for themselves. Arlen encounters a group of cannibals, led by the mountainous "Miami Man" (Jason Momoa), who cut off her arm and her leg. Then a helpful hermit (Jim Carrey) brings her to the town of "Comfort," which is run by a well-spoken man called The Dream (Keanu Reeves). Arlen settles in, surrounded by strange characters. While scavenging the wastelands, she runs into two of the cannibals. She kills one and takes the other, a little girl, back to Comfort. Unfortunately, this brings Miami Man to her door.
Is it any good?
Though definitely not for mainstream tastes, Ana Lily Amirpour's bizarre, beautiful film feels like an arthouse movie from an earlier time, more of a dare than a comfort, more active than passive. The Bad Batch takes a few cues from defiant, edgy movies like the Mad Max series, The Hills Have Eyes, Tank Girl, El Topo, and Zabriskie Point, but it's different in its own unique way. Amirpour, who made an impressive debut with the equally hard-to-categorize A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, is gifted at pure cinema.
Her compositions are extraordinary, using powerful depth of space as well as odd, striking juxtapositions in nearly every shot. She favors silence over dialogue, though music is important. Mainly, her movies seem to be about wanderers (like modern-day cowboys) exploring weird landscapes and perhaps hoping to find a place that seems good enough. Along the way -- at least in The Bad Batch -- the journey is funny, horrifying, magical, awful, and beautiful, with so many great moments, especially the surprising performance by Carrey. Many will find the 118-minute running time a bit daunting for an "experimental" movie, but a few brave souls will be totally swept away.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Bad Batch's violence. How much is shown, and how much is suggested? How does the movie use violence to suggest the mood and atmosphere of this dystopian world?
What are the rules of this world? Why are people locked away in the desert? How are they chosen? Do you agree with the rationale? Why or why not?
Does "Comfort" look like a good place to live? How does the drug-based economy work? How does it compare to where you live now?
- In theaters: June 23, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: September 19, 2017
- Cast: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves
- Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
- Studio: Neon
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, language, some drug content and brief nudity
- Last updated: May 4, 2021
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