The Bad Batch

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Bad Batch Movie Poster Image
Daring, dark, violent art house movie isn't for everyone.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Buried under all of the film's weird, dreamy events is the idea that all the "undesirables" in the world -- i.e. the poor, the unhealthy, the non-white -- are sent into unwilling exile. The movie clearly doesn't support this idea, but it also doesn't talk much about how it came to be or why.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters struggle to get by, mainly doing their own thing. Some thrive on power, and some aren't above acts of violence.

Violence

The movie deals with cannibalism and gets quite gory/graphic. A girl is tackled, abducted, tied up, and injected with a needle. Arms and legs are severed; blood spatters. A woman is beaten with a piece of metal rebar. A character is covered in excrement. Stabbing (with blades and butcher knives), neck snapping, corpse cutting, and armless/legless victims shown. Prisoners cry and beg. Guns and shooting shown; a character is shot and killed. Bloody wounds/corpse seen. Rabbits killed (offscreen).

Sex

Images from a "nudie" magazine include naked female breasts and bottoms. Several shirtless bodybuilders are shown. The main character is dressed in revealing clothing. Dogs mate in the street.

Language

Not constant but includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "ass," bitch," and "goddamn."

Consumerism

Characters wear Converse Chuck Taylor shoes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A sequence shows characters on hallucinogenic drugs (acid?). Some smoke cigarettes. Piles of different kinds of pills and drugs shown.

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.

User Reviews

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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?

  • How is drug use depicted? Is it glamorized? Are there consequences for taking drugs? Why does that matter?

  • 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?

Movie details

For kids who love offbeat films

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