Ana Lily Amirpour’s The Bad Batch (2016) meaning is a romantic horror film in the genre of futuristic dystopia. The project of the Anglo-Iranian-American film director, screenwriter and Hollywood actress can be imagined as a variation on the burlesque thriller “Six-String Samurai”, a kind of imitation of Whitley’s “High-Rise”, a kind of Hillcoat’s road movie “The Road”.
The time and place of events in the movie The Bad Batch is a post-apocalyptic reality in the USA. The authorities get rid of non-functional citizens of the state in a simple way: they are sent to the Texas wasteland. The rejected people are stigmatized: behind each ear is a “defect” tattoo and a “bad batch” number. Drug addicts, bandits, illegal migrants and other asocial elements fall into the outcasts of society. They have no hopes for correction and return, they have to survive “here and now”.
Another ballast thrown off the shoulders of modern society is Arlene. A pretty blonde is on her way to where her kind live – to the city of Comfort (Consolation). On a deserted road, she is attacked by cannibals and dragged away. Arlene is just a protein food, which the big, muscular meat-eaters of the Most community need a lot of. There are no cellars and refrigerators here, the problem with the preservation of stocks is being solved radically. A caught person is not killed, but eaten in parts, sawing off with a hacksaw what they are going to fry. The area is teeming with crippled, half-eaten people. The girl, who lost her right arm and leg, becomes one of them. He tries to run: first crawling, then he finds a skateboard and gets to the dump. A local hermit picks up a cripple who has fallen unconscious and delivers him to Consolation on his cart.
Arlene, who now has prostheses, spends almost half a year in the city with a pompous Find Comfort sign. The local leader named Mechta takes care of everyone – he reads sermons about the meaning of life, arranges holidays with music and DJs, provides utilities, distributes drugs. The city is full of the sugary and lustful guru’s pregnant concubines because the young women want “the dream within themselves.” Arlene doesn’t like that prospect. She runs away into the desert, where she is found by a brutal big man with a tattoo on his chest. A wild, naive and pure-hearted cannibal – The Man from Miami – admires the starry sky with her, talks about his beloved daughter, showing a portrait of the baby he painted. Further events between the potential victim and her aggressor develop according to the classic scheme of the Stockholm syndrome.
The girl, having got back to the cannibals, understands that the risk of becoming someone’s dinner is too great. There is no hope for the universal kindness of the Man from Miami. She escapes back to Solace. The cannibal’s daughter follows Arlene, and she brings the baby to her home. She likes a rabbit that Arlene once bought at the market. She gives the girl a small animal, because the child is going to play with him, and not eat rabbit meat. But the idyll does not last long: the ogre’s daughter is kidnapped by the people of the Dream. The guru in his palace feeds her delicious spaghetti, gives her toys: “If you want to grow a garden that will feed you, take care of it.”
A man from Miami learns from an old hermit from a landfill where his daughter disappeared. An enraged father finds Arlene in the desert, blackmails her by taking away her prostheses, and threatens her with death. Upon learning of the loss, he softens his anger, offers help. He gives Arlene a ride on a motor scooter, shelters her from a dust storm, beats off a bearded tramp when he wants to exchange human flesh for a can of gasoline. In the vicinity of Solace, travelers are discovered by a patrol. The shooter injures the Miami Man, and Arlene takes him to the city. The girl manages, under the guise of someone who wants to find a “dream within herself”, to penetrate into the Palace of Dreams. She removes a gun from her prosthesis, takes one of the guards hostage. Together with the baby, who holds her beloved rabbit in her arms, Arlene on a golf cart rushes to the Man from Miami.
The meeting of the main characters and the reunion of father and daughter takes place in the middle of a dead desert. The girl takes the man by the hand. He understands that it is impossible to go to the Bridge with booty for his fellow tribesmen. She does not want to return to the euphoria of Solace’s stoned junkies. It remains to look for hope in a lifeless wasteland. At this time, the baby begins to act up – she wants to eat. Arlene distracts her, the father takes the rabbit, steps aside and quietly kills the animal. Final shots: the three sit around a campfire and dine on fried rabbit meat.
At such an ending of the film “Bad Batch”, the perplexed viewer has only pity for the killed animal. Throughout the duration, he did not decide whether or not to sympathize with the main marginal characters. The difference between the two worlds – the primitiveness of cannibalism and the illusory well-being while stoned – is only in the nature of the dominant evil. Hence the conclusion about the concept of the film: complete “hopelessness. dot. com. The search for an alternative way to survive is meaningless. All the same, the same dregs of society, flawed people from the “bad party” will still remain around. The inner emptiness of a person thrown into the street – this is what is well revealed in the film.