Ana Lily Amirpour
’s debut film, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
, was one of the most talked about films in 2014. Her take on the vampire genre was strikingly unique with an incredibly distinct film style and willingness to take chances, diverting from tradition and establishing a distinguishable mood. Included on many lists of young directors to watch, her next feature was highly anticipated. The Bad Batch
worked its way through the festival circuit last year, but the buzz for her sophomore picture was significantly softer.
In a dystopian world akin to the forsaken deserts of Mad Max
, there is no law and little loyalty. For unknown reasons Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) leaves Texas and the borders of the United States, casting herself out into this dangerous future alone; where food is as scarce as water and sand dwellers have become creative in their meal preparation. Escaping one nightmare barely intact, she seeks refuge in a city of dreams. With neon light parties and edibles for sale, she may have found a home amongst the bordered city’s strange inhabitants. Of course, nothing is as it seems and it would appear the resident leader is keeping the refugees under his wing compliant for a reason.
This film once again demonstrates Amirpour’s readiness to explore the dark corners of even darker worlds. In spite of the starkness of some of the sets, it still looks as if she incorporates her distinctive visual style by constructing bold frames, vibrant colours and unconventional scenes. Jason Mamoa
’s daunting figure and artistic tendencies stand out from the dusty landscape, while Keanu Reeves
blends into his prince of the wastelands role. And Waterhouse will seemingly carry most of the film on her shoulders. This is certainly a different type of film than Amirpour’s first, but how much of her success will carry over remains to be seen. The film opens June 23.