Thursday, July 13, 2017

0540

So far Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures has released:

  • Lawless (2012, John Hilcoat)
  • The Master (2012, Paul Thomas Anderson)
  • Killing Them Softly (2012, Andrew Dominik)
  • Zero Dark Thirty (2012, Kathryn Bigelow)
  • Spring Breakers (2013, Harmony Korine)
  • The Grandmaster (2013, Wong Kar-wai)
  • Her (2013, Spike Jonze)
  • American Hustle (2013, David O. Russell
  • Foxcatcher (2014, Bennett Miller)
  • Joy (2015, Russell)
  • Everybody Wants Some!! (2016, Richard Linklater)
  • Wiener-Dog (2016, Todd Solondz)
  • Sausage Party (2016, Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan)
  • 20th Century Women (2016, Mike Mills)

The Bad Batch (2016, Ana Lily Amirpour) is an acid western romance starring Brit fashion model Suki Waterhouse as ARLEN, a newcomer to a TX wasteland for exiled nonfunctioning members of society. There she meets tatted-up brute MIAMI MAN (Jason Momoa) and his kid HONEY while they all wander along making their best efforts to survive.

The Bad Batch opens with art direction that feels like the music video for "Telephone," by Lady Gaga and BeyoncĂ© (2009, Jonas Ă…kerlund), with its sexually ambiguous bodybuilders, B-movie genre exploitation, urban street fashions, and pop dance music. There are a few graphic sequences that go a long way establishing tone. First, Arlen waking up bound in a cannibal camp. With only a few of the dozens of close up shots of Suki Waterhouse's crotch and "All That She Wants," by Ace of Base in the background playing, the cult midnight movie exploitation is dispatched post haste. Soon after the orientation into this locale the narrative carries us right into a yard of weightlifters set to Die Antwoord.

This movie is also a road movie about Arlen's path. And it's not really important where she's going because she's still trying to find out. Suki Waterhouse commands the screen excellently. But the strength of The Bad Batch relies on its setting. Amirpour's ability to turn heads with this taboo shock mix of porno mags and cannibalism flesh-is-king aesthetic, set in a dystopian inferno where we as audience are unable to guess where she's taking us, and her realization of this small stake of Texas land are the meat we actually chew on.

The plot may seem sparse, but The Bad Batch is definitely the product of intellectual artistic conceptualism. It ponders how close we as a contemporary society are to returning to the Dark Ages and what that might look like. And, well, everything comes across as an artfully evoked creative foray into this visually satisfying sexy shocking shithole of American society.

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