Gally☆Gabrielle’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ok, let's do this. Or try to.
There's something that came to my mind recently, about movies, film criticism and storytelling in general. There are plenty of movies I could use to talk about it, but I was waiting for the right one, and Ana Lily Amirpour's The Bad Batch might just be it.
The way we tell stories. We watch movies, sit to write about them and we talk about plot points, character arcs, the 3 acts, et cetera, and more often than I'd like I see a lot of people dismissing movies they actually enjoyed just because they didn't follow the "quality manual" that was taught them. This is absurd, people. Film criticism is mainly to blame for that, telling people what to like and what not to, making people ashamed of admitting that they enjoyed something. Let's get down to storytelling structure, screenwriting rules and all that. Let's wind the clocks back in centuries. Where did storytelling rules come from? They weren't discovered, like the laws of physics. They were invented. By someone, a person, a human being. A long time ago, someone thought "If I do these things, people will understand my story better". But the point most people miss is that if there's this way of telling a story, if someone could come up with that, it inherently means there are countless more.
And here we are, on the 21st century, where the main source of stories are movies, and because of the cancer of film criticism the modern filmgoer has become so centered in the dozens of rules a film "has" to follow, that they've completely forgotten that what matters most is not that a story follows the rules of narrative, is that it gets told, period. If you can find an effective way to tell a story differently than the known formulas, then do it. The point is that if by the end of a movie you know what happened and why it happened, that's really all that matters. "The protagonist needs to be relatable/likable" no they don't. Someone invented that because it makes the story easier to tell, but if you can capture your audience's interest just the same without it, then why wouldn't you? "The film misses the point" does it? Or can it be that it simply has more than just one point? "It's convoluted" is it? If everything comes together by the end, does it really matter? And we could go on all day, and don't even get me started on the style over substance bullshit.
Anyhow, enter The Bad Batch. The obvious type of movie that most people are gonna love to hate now, but like I said in my previous log, in about 10 years everyone's gonna come back crawling to it, praising the masterpiece it is and crying about how they could've possibly misjudged it at first. If there are two things that Ana Lily Amirpour clearly doesn't give a shit about in this movie, they are 1 - what you want/expect the movie to be, and 2 - those so called rules. Amirpour picks up what's useful for her little tale and tosses away whatever isn't, and she creates the exact movie she wants to create: a bizarre, morally complex, and aesthetically entrancing dystopian film so rich that I think I could write a different review for it everytime I watched it.
Are we that far from this future? Casting out invalid members for our society, becoming afraid of our own kind more than anything else - the greatest threat to human race is humanity itself, it always has been, and doesn't that sound so twisted? It's like we have the bomb in one hand and the tool to disarm it in the other one, but each hand wants to do its own thing with it and they'll never settle. Of course, we could all just close our eyes and renegate ourselves from the horrors of the world, and can we really judge the ones who do?
That's one of the beauties in Ana Lily Amirpour's The Bad Batch. It shows people doing whatever they have to do to survive the best way they can in this cracked world and it doesn't judge them. When the world does come to an end and all that's left for us is a desert, humanity's gonna be dragged back to its most primordial senses and instincts, and things like ethics and etiquette will cease to assist and become shackles, obstacles in many situations - most situations. Right now, every human being is gifted with a choice: to live in an illusory comfort, where anything won't ever touch us, or accept the harsh reality that is the world we live in. Accept to live in a world with pain, suffering, death, anger, and accept that people are not one-sided, everyone has a story, a reason to be or to do what they do. Ultimately, accept that humans can be cruel in the most gruesome ways, but every once in a while, they can be loving and caring. And that, I think, is worth it all.