A woman tries to survive in a dystopian desert prison in . Arlen () is a young woman, who is sentenced to “The Bad Batch,” a gated Texas desert occupied by those considered outsiders to society. Nearly immediately, Arlen is captured by a gang of cannibals, who cut off her arm and leg for food. Arlen manages to escape and is taken in by a community known as “Comfort,” run by a charismatic man known as The Dream (). While venturing the desert, Arlen finds and kills one of her captors and takes in a young girl. However, the girl's father Miami Man () has set out across The Bad Batch to look for her.

Ana Lily Amirpour follows up her debut film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night with a post-apocalyptic western that comes across like a mix between Mad Max and Escape from New York. At an unspecified time in the future, a desert in Texas has become a lawless prison, where criminals have to fend for themselves. At the centre of all this are Arlen and Miami Man, who are forced to put their differences aside to save Miami Man's daughter, who has been taken by The Dream.

The Bad Batch is an exquisitely shot film with endless desert landscapes and features a great soundtrack ranging from Ace of Base to Culture Club, with these catchy pop songs often playing during quite violent moments. The film is also incredibly stylistic and features scene-stealing performances by both Keanu Reeves as The Dream and as a mute hermit. Altogether, while somewhat more glossy than her previous film, The Bad Batch continues to show that Ana Lily Amirpour is a young director to watch.

9 / 10 stars


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.