The Bad Batch

VAN D: Ana Lily Amirpour. U.S. 115 min..

VAN D: Ana Lily Amirpour. U.S. 115 min. Sep 13, 9 pm, Ryerson Sep 14, 3:15 pm, Hot Docs Cinema Sep 18, 8:45 pm, Hot Docs Cinema. Rating: NNN

Writer/director Amirpour – who made a striking debut with A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night two years ago – returns with another subversive investigation of genre, this time exploring the post-apocalyptic action movie. But this particular sun-blasted wasteland is simply where Texas dumps its undesirables it could be set tomorrow or a hundred years from now.

Once again, Amirpour’s hero is a woman of few words: Suki Waterhouse plays Alden, who over the course of the picture is involved with two tribal leaders: a cannibal chieftain (Jason Momoa) and an EDM-loving cult leader (Keanu Reeves). And as the story follows Alden between clans, Amirpour eschews narrative momentum for weird, moody scenes where her world just exists, harsh and brutal but still recognizably human. This is a movie that’s meaty in both senses of the word.

At nearly two hours, it does overextend itself a bit – the third act could be a lot tighter – but I was always interested in seeing what came next.

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