"KEEP BUSTIN'."

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

tn_agwhaanA GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT is being called “the first Iranian vampire spaghetti western,” but only the “vampire” part is strictly accurate. For one thing, it doesn’t have much in common with spaghetti westerns other than the setting of a barren, quiet town and a scene with some obvious Morricone-inspired music. As for the other part, it is true that the characters are all Iranian and the dialogue is in Persian, and it takes place in Iran. It’s interesting because it looks very different from how you expect the landscape of Iran to look, it will really change your idea of what that place is like. In my opinion that’s because it was filmed outside of Bakersfield, California, where Iranian-American writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour grew up.

So I think technically it’s an American movie made in America by Americans for American audiences, but obviously what I have described here is an uncommon cross-cultural mix, which does give the movie a certain flavor. And it needs that flavor, ’cause there’s not that much soup here.

The title refers to “The Girl” (Sheila Vand), a quiet, lonely young vampire woman who from some angles looks strikingly like Winona Ryder. She wears a striped shirt and a black veil, which cuts quite an image in the film’s nice black and white cinematographism by Lyle Vincent (Sesame Street: Elmo Visits the Doctor) as she spookily skulks in the shadows and follows people or just stands there watching them like a creep or a Michael Meyers or an it follows.

Ms. The Girl may have a bit of a vigilante or feminist avenger type streak, because we keep seeing her bite the necks of assholes who mistreat prostitutes. There seem to be less than a dozen people here in Bad City, as it’s called, yet there are hookers, junkies and drug dealers. Not a great neighborhood for raising a family in my opinion if you were wondering. I mean really kids shouldn’t be too sheltered either but I just think you could find a better balance between safety and life experience than this shithole. I mean what are you gonna do after 5 pm other than prostitution or drugs, it doesn’t seem like there’s much else to do there.

There’s also this young guy Arash (Arash Marandi) who seems nice, he has kind of a pompadour and wears white undershirts and loves his car, like the dreamy anti-hero of a ’50s juvenile delinquent b-movie. When he finds a gangster dead at the fangs of the girl he steals his cocaine so he can finally make a good living. Meanwhile he meets the girl and tries to strike up a relationship, not understanding that when she says “I’ve done bad things” it really is stuff worse than what he’s done.

Seriously, that looks like Winona Ryder, right?
Seriously though, that looks like Winona Ryder, right?

Since she doesn’t talk or do much her personality is mostly up to interpretation. Her wall is plastered in posters: Madonna, the Bee Gees, Michael Jackson. This kind of reminded me of how the Iranian heroine of the cartoon movie PERSEPOLIS seemed very American in her musical obsessions, showing how truly international the phenomenons of ’80s pop music were. But also it’s kind of a social media approach to characterization. “Here is a list of the things I like, that is who I am.”

At one point Arash tries to figure her out by asking the last song she listened to. She says “Hello Hello” [sic] by Lionel Richie. So I guess she’s a lonely voyeur who loves from afar. You’re all she’s ever wanted and her arms are open wide. Good touch. And the music on the soundtrack – obscurities, not pop culture touchstones like what’s on her wall – is pretty cool. Very eclectic, some British, some Iranian, some punk, some like this:

This one is all about tone and mood. The quietness and long takes remind me of early Jim Jarmusch. At one point they go so long sitting in a car not saying anything that I wanted the cat in the back seat to come up with some icebreaker. “So… how did you two meet?” Something like that.

But Jarmusch movies tend to have more ideas than this, more quirks for the characters, more things for them to talk (or not talk) about. For me at least they always have more themes to chew on and decipher afterwards.

The highlight of this one is the character of Saeed (Dominic Rains, MASK OF THE NINJA), the dumbass drug kingpin who takes Arash’s beloved car to cover his junkie father (Marshall Manesh, TRUE LIES, BARB WIRE)’s debt. This guy looks like Roger Guenveur Smith with face tattoos and a six-pack. He’s alot like Alien from SPRING BREAKERS but stupider, more Ali G. He has a tattoo over his Adam’s apple that says “SEX.” It’s like a little boy inhabits an adult body BIG style and got way out of control. He brings the girl to his crib, which is decorated with tigers and pot leaves. He goes and picks up a dumbell and does a couple arm curls for her, then turns on some kind of EDM (electronical dancing music) and dances shirtless in front of her.

still_agwhaan2

still_agwhaan3

mp_agwhaanIt’s alot of big laughs right at the beginning, but then he’s gone. He deserves what he gets, but be careful what you wish for, because the movie is never as entertaining after his departure. (I was gonna say “after he bites it,” but obviously she does all the biting.)

There’s a quote about director Amirpour that gets repeated alot in the press about her: the creative director from Vice (who distributed the movie) said “She’s the next Tarantino, man. Count on it.” And at least one person I talked to said he heard this movie compared to Tarantino. I’m sure the guy just meant he thought she was an original voice or something. Don’t take him literally, because there’s nothing Tarantino-like in this movie, for good or bad.

I don’t think this one lives up to the hype, or my hopes for it. It certainly does not strike me as as promising a debut as RESERVOIR DOGS, for crying out loud, either in writing or directorial chops or overall entertainment value. It’s got a good vibe to it, I like where it’s coming from, but it doesn’t really have enough story or imagination to stay interesting all the way through.

But I don’t want to be too hard on it. She’s doing her thing, and she’s got enough going that I believe her style could grow into something stronger. I hope so, because her next movie stars Jason Momoa as a cannibal, plus Jim Carrey and Keanu Reeves, and she has described it as “EL TOPO meets DIRTY DANCING” as well as “ROAD WARRIOR meets PRETTY IN PINK with a dope soundtrack.” I mean, I would have to be an asshole not to give a shot to a movie described that way.

So hopefully she’ll do a good job directing that and then she’ll just be executive producer for whichever up-and-comer directs A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE 2 LOST IN NEW YORK AT NIGHT.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 at 9:21 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

35 Responses to “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night”

  1. It’s weird that Jim Jarmusch actually made a vampire romance, and then this unknown director comes out the same year and made a vampire romance that was more Jim Jarmusch than the actual Jim Jarmusch film. (you can argue, maybe, that ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE has more subtext, but it’s also a lot duller and less fun. And that subtext isn’t interesting enough to make up for it).

    I agree that this one is all vibe and not a lot of substance, but so what? It’s a great vibe, and a totally unique one. It’s short, immersive, sexy, and jam-packed with iconic imagery. I absolutely adored it.

    It’s a real shame that films like this, IT FOLLOWS and BABADOOK get so hyped up, I feel like they never really stand a chance with a lot of people (especially those who wait for video), they’re disappointments before they even begin because they’ll never live up to absurd hyperbole like “the next Tarantino.”* I think those three are some of the best genre films in recent memory –and even if you don’t think that you’ve gotta admit that they’re uncommonly strong efforts– but by the time everyone sees them they’ve already heard so much gushing that their disappointment outweighs their enjoyment. What a drag.

    I think you all need to stop reading so many advance reviews, it’s really ruining your enjoyment of some fine cinema. I understand why people feel the need to overpraise little indie film in an effort to get them a wider audience, but for folks like us, we’re gonna see ’em anyway, we’d be better off finding them on our own. I had the distinct advantage of walking into both BABADOOK and GIRL WALKS HOME more or less totally blind, and then when I saw IT FOLLOWS getting some buzz I immediately swore off reading any more about it and saw it only really knowing that people were saying it was good. What do you know, I highly enjoyed them all more than (apparently) anyone else on this site. That’s the problem with the internet — even when it’s being unusually positive, it can still ruin everything.

    *Hell, if RESOVOIR DOGS had been inescapably gushed about as “the next Tarantino” for months beforehand, I genuinely think we’d all walk out going, “well, it had lots of good stuff, but I dunno, there was some awkward staging, I’m not sure it was really about anything.”

  2. i felt the same way about this one, just did not click with me the way it did with all the people raving about it. the cat was amazing though.

  3. This sound like the sort of movie that you have to see to make up your own mind. I wasn’t sure if it was for me, but it sounds bizarre enough to have to be seen.

  4. It’s true, Mr. Subtlety. It’s this whole cycle of raves from Sundance, Fantastic Fest etc., then raves when they come out in limited release, then “you need to support this movie” lectures if it gets to wide release, and especially if I miss it in theaters it can be a year or more later by the time I see it. So I find myself writing alot of “it’s not as great as they say, but” type caveats even if I like them. But actually I did avoid reading much about any of those three and in fact had seen not great reviews of this one for a while before I started seeing positive ones. So maybe I’m just joyless.

  5. p.s. I bet this one played better on a big, immersive screen.

  6. Much agreeance here. The movie is thin and sometimes too cool for school yet has a very distinctive mood; without giving anything away, there’s a certain minute or two between the leads that just hangs in the air and seeps in. You don’t get that every day.

    Plus, I’m with Mr. Subtlety: Headline and first sentences can tell you whether your reviewers think a movie’s worthwhile. Too often the rest include details that I’d rather get first from actually seeing the movie. Discovery of the notable bits is part of what formed the reviewer’s recommendation in the first place, so why give that up? Especially if you read multiple reviewers; the whole movie gets spoiled that way.

    Weird AGWHAAN trivia: That Madonna album on the wall isn’t actually Madonna, it’s reportedly a recreation with the author Margaret Atwood. Drove me nuts in the theater, wondering why the face was altered.

  7. Vern — It’s true that the theatrical experience might have really helped this one out a lot. Like you said, there’s not much story there, so it’s gonna live and die on its images and its ability to immerse you completely and cultivate an experience. I don’t know how well that will translate to a smaller screen and a lot more distractions in a home-viewing experience. I notice a lot of people who watch movies with me at home end up checking their cell phone every few minutes during the slow parts, which is fine for a Bond movie or something but is going to be complete death for something like this. Any movie is going to benefit from having you fully engaged and immersed in its world, of course, but for AGWHAAT and its ilk, there’s going to be rapidly diminishing returns for anything other than being totally subsumed by the strength of its pure cinema.

  8. (not that I’m accusing you or anyone else of not giving it fair shakes; there’s just a fundamental difference between the theatrical and home viewing experience in terms of distraction, or at least to me there is.)

  9. Is anyone else starting to feel that this generation might be really into boring films? Between “It Follows,” which was good but, shall we say, languorous, this (which I haven’t seen, but if what Vern says is true), and movies like “Drinking Buddies,” I’m wondering if pop culture is getting increasingly mumbelcore-y. But then again I guess Transformers always makes a bamillion dollars and that’s just ritalin in movie form. Maybe it’s just that indie filmmakers are increasingly disinterested in story? Or maybe I’m just an old man and these kids should get off my lawn?

  10. Great, balanced review. I haven’t seen this, and have absolutely no interest in doing so, but I have to disagree with your admission that you would have to be an asshole to not give a shot to a movie described as “EL TOPO meets DIRTY DANCING” or “ROAD WARRIOR meets PRETTY IN PINK with a dope soundtrack”. Both of those sound like something that fucking Max Landis would pitch. The whole “take two disparate films from opposite ends of the genre spectrum and liken your project to a wacky collision between the two” never registers to me as anything more than desperate, self-congratulatory posturing. Not to say that disparate genres can’t be combined to great success, but did anyone find those descriptions as cringe inducing as me?

  11. Also EL TOPO and DIRTY DANCING already *have* dope soundtracks.

  12. Haha I accidentally switched the films around, although MAD MAX: WARRIOR ROAD and PRETTY IN PINK do indeed have a dope soundtrack as well in my opinion.

  13. Daniel Strange — I absolutely take issue with the idea that either of those films, of modern indie filmmaking in general, is at all boring. Boring is another overstuffed, 230 minute 170 million dollar big studio action adaptation with two dozen screenwriters and a hundred dull subplots falling all over each other in a mad rush to loud irrelevance. IT FOLLOWS and AGWHAAN are quiet, yes, but they’re focused, intimate and propulsive all the same, and in a way which precious few films are. You don’t have to like them, you don’t have to think what they’re doing works, that’s your business. And since they’re very narrowly focused, if the thing they’re focusing on doesn’t click with you, I can see that they wouldn’t have a lot to offer. But just, objectively, “boring”? Never. Many of the most riveting and engrossing films ever made are narratively uneventful.

    (OK so DRINKING BUDDIES is close to completely unwatchable, but it seems like the culture mostly correctly ignored it. That’s just Joe Swanberg, that’s what he does, and he does it so it’s easier to automatically hate him when he shows up in a Ti West or Adam Wingard movie.)

  14. All right, that was just cold, dropping the Max Landis bomb on me. But I just said that *I* would have to be an asshole not to give it a chance, because it’s up my alley to watch Jason Momoa and Keanu and cannibalism and EL TOPO meets DIRTY DANCING. Nobody else is required to watch it.

  15. Sorry Vern. No offense intended towards you or anyone else here regarding the mentioning of Max Landis. His is definitely a name that one should not drop lightly.

  16. Philosophically I think it is possible to protect yourself from hype. But then when you do have an honest opinion, you are still aware of the hype that existed and whether or not you agreed with it. Like when I finally saw DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, I knew I would have still found it mediocre and derivative of human war movies on my own even if I’d seen it before everyone else. But since I was late, I knew there was a groundswell of legitimate opinions finding it groundbreaking. So I had to acknowledge I disagreed with the hype but I don’t think the hype affected my enjoyment.

    I saw GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT at Sundance before I’d heard anything. I just thought an Iranian vampire western sounded cool. Did not work for me. I did like the director and star though and would still be interested in what they do next.

    A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK AT NIGHT brought a big smile to my face tonight.

  17. Mr. Subtlety – let’s not get distracted by semantics. You & I have different definitions of what constitutes ‘boring,’ that’s all. You think ‘narratively uneventful’ doesn’t constitute boring, and I think it is one of the many things that can fall under that umbrella, along with overstuffed CGI big studio whatevers. So what? (although I cannot agree with you that “It Follows” could ever be described as ‘propulsive.’) We can take the word ‘boring’ out of the discussion if you wish; I’ll amend my point to be “Indie films seem to be more narratively uneventful these days, what’s up with that?”

  18. Strange — well, I’d argue that the idea of smaller-scale, quieter, narratively minimalist has mostly disappeared from the mainstream as studios movies get more and more expensive to make. You used to be able to get a couple domestic dramas and wandering, densely-written actor-y movies every year from the studios trying to crank out a prestige picture, but the simple fact is that it’s mostly too expensive for a studio to this kind of thing, considering what they recoup. So it makes sense that the indie world is picking up the slack; they can make movies a lot cheaper, and their small scale isn’t as big an economic disadvantage when they don’t have to compete for the same market as the latest Spider-Man reboot. They can’t offer spectacle, so instead they’re offering a different, more deliberative kind of experience.

    But then again, as the indie scene grows, it’s also getting more diverse, so there are tons of different flavors out there. Its a lot harder to offer cheap thrills on the kind of budget they’re usually working with, though, so I think on average you’re probably right that on average indie films tend towards slow burn rather than big setpieces and relentless action. Of course, that’s always been true to some extent.

    What HAS kind of disappeared, seemingly, are studio B-pictures, which used to kind of occupy the middle ground. The DTV market has kind of filled that gap, but in a pretty anemic way a lot of the time.

  19. Interesting. I think you’re right. I wonder to what percentage the youth audience is digging it, because I kind of get the feeling they are collectively more open to it than, say, my generation is. I may be overreaching here, but is the narrative uneventfullness of “It Follows” and the narrative shapelessness / overabundance of ‘events’ in a “Transformers” movie two sides of the same coin? Have we reached a point in cinema where story doesn’t really matter to audiences any more? Is mood, atmosphere, and/or action & explosions all a movie needs to be considered ‘good’?

  20. Strange — Well, I don’t think uneventful, atmosphere-heavy movies are anything new. And I don’t think the shapelessness of really incident-heavy movies like TRANSFORMERS are really the same thing; those movies were trying to tell a story and simply failing at it, mostly as a result of the torturous studio filmmaking process. IT FOLLOWS is, where you like it or not, doing exactly what it’s trying to do. There may be something to the idea that millennial are more comfortable with generally shapeless narratives, but I don’t know; I don’t think these mumblecore films are exactly storming the box office, even with young people. If some of these smaller, quieter indie horror films –IT FOLLOWS, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, BABADOOK, THE PACT, ABSENTIA, WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, etc– get a little press, it’s mostly from film buffs who respond to their unusually accomplished cinematic style, serious tone, and deliberate, tension-heightening pace. They’re more representative of the strain of horror fandom who think Val Lewton and THE HAUNTING are the be-all of horror than they are a bunch of twittering millenials, or at least that’s my perception.

  21. Are there any horror movies at all that aren’t just going for atmosphere and ambiance anymore? When’s the last wide release horror movie that wasn’t about a slow build up to a bunch of ghosty shit? YOU’RE NEXT? I saw four previews before IT FOLLOWS that were all about creepy kids in dark houses who see supernatural shenanigans. FOUR. That’s all horror is right now. I have liked some of the new slow burn hipster horror as well as a few of the studio haunted house pictures they got nowadays but I sure wouldn’t mind somebody making a more straightforward scary movie that wasn’t a sucking-its-own-dick pastiche.

    I watched the SORORITY ROW remake and THE GRUDGE 2 last week. That’s how bad shit is. I’m looking back at the slasher/J-horror remake era with nostalgia. At least motherfuckers got stabbed every now and again.

  22. Yeah, I think you can probably blame PARANORMAL ACTIVITY for that trend more than anything else. When studios learned you can make almost 200 million on a $15,000 budget, it probably sounded the death knell of setpiece-heavy, comparably expensive splatterporn, at least as far as the major studios are concerned.

    Weirdly, Universal, at least, has recently decided to do the opposite for the classic horror properties, turning DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN into busy, frantic, expensive action movies.

    This is sort of what I was trying to get at earlier, the idea that the majors and the indies are diverging further and further, and there seems to be ever less room in the middle, for moderately budgeted genre movies which really want to deliver some red stuff. I like all kinds of horror movies and really loved the slower, deliberate horror offerings last year, but I see your point, I hope things swing back towards mayhem a little as the year goes on. I think Kevin Smith probably made the most gory American film last year, which is probably not what you want (although the foreign horror markets have helped fill the hole… DEAD SNOW 2, for example).

  23. The Original Paul

    April 24th, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Ok, I think I can contribute to everything here BUT “A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT”.

    Subtlety / Majestyk on slow-burn horror movies: I saw SINISTER and really liked it. I saw OCULUS and really liked it. I saw THE PACT and really liked it. Honestly, SINISTER’s notable flaws aside, the only thing really wrong with all three of these movies was the pacing. OCULUS in particular got this really, really wrong, despite being an excellent movie in many respects. What I guess I’m saying is that I like slow-burn horror movies, but unless they’re called KAIRO, most of them could probably do with losing half an hour or so and wouldn’t suffer much for it.

    (Oh, and COHERENCE also fits into this vein and is worth a mention because it is really good. In case you haven’t seen my review of it in the forums… nope, can’t even finish that sentence without laughing hysterically. Anyway, not the best movie I’ve ever seen, possibly not even the best this year, but it’s certainly worth watching. It has some fantastically creepy moments.)

    I also miss movies like YOU’RE NEXT and the old whodunnit-horrors that SCREAM managed to satirise while at the same time being better than 99% of them. (Seriously, I watched the original HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW the other day, and all I can say is that it’s about on a par with its own remake. And even the remake managed to beat it in terms of the reveal of who the killer actually is, which you’ll know is damning with the faintest of praise if you’ve actually watched it.)

  24. The Original Paul

    April 24th, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Ok, on Indie films on the other hand…

    …So I’ve mostly stopped going to them. Occasionally I go to an indie horror / sci-fi flick like COHERENCE. But most of the time it’s just not worth the one-and-a-quarter hour drive to Cardiff to see a movie at the arts cinema which I know is probably going to make me feel nauseous. Which of course is #1 of “movie sins that have caused Paul to stop going to movies” – handheld camera. Note to indie filmmakers: Your film is probably going to be seen by most people on a large screen in a small room! Thereby making any motion-sickness effects from shaking cameras that much damn worse! Learn to use a fucking steadicam!

    But apart from the handheld camera thing, my major problem with indie films right now is simple: the filmmakers don’t want to tell a story, they want to make some kind of a point; and rather than doing it naturally through story or character, they instead choose to go about it in the most heavy-handed way possible. COHERENCE is an example of a filmmaker getting this absolutely right. It has great characters and interesting stuff happens to them. NEIGHBOURING SOUNDS and LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE should’ve been great – the acting was great, a lot of the technical stuff was fantastic too – but there was no story there. I felt like I was getting a sermon rammed down my throat in both of these films instead of actually watching an interesting story about interesting characters. How much this relates to what Daniel was talking about, I don’t know. I do know that a lack of “story” has been a sticking point for me in a lot of films recently, but that may be a more subjective point – after all, a lot of critics thought NEIGHBOURING SOUNDS and LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE were excellent. I can’t agree.

    And yeah, I miss studio B-pictures as well. Looking back, it’s surprising how often they turned out to be the best thing in the schedule. (This goes back to the Film Noir era when they sandwiched some Raymond Chandler adaptation in between two “serious” movies, and now the only one that gets remembered is the adaptation.)

  25. I don’t have an issue with the whole “____ meets ____” thing being used to describe movies. I know it can seem smug but sometimes it really is the best way to talk about a movie. This one can pretty accurately be described as “Lifeforce meets Dogville” (filtered through Jim Jarmusch, Depeche Mode videos, and college radio), but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of it – sure, there’s a simplicity to the story, but the filmatism is incredible (it’s nowhere near Stoker-levels, but I did keep going “Why hasn’t someone tried this before?” which is a good and rare thing)

    Side note #1 – Anyone remember the band Times New Viking? I heard an album cold and was so intrigued – the sound was so lo-fi I honestly couldn’t tell what the hell was being sung, who was doing the singing, or even what instruments were being played. Is that a male or a female? Was that a guitar or keybaord? How many people are even in this band?? I eventually saw them live and it turned out to be just 3 people (a keyboard, a guitar, and drums) and I was kind of deflated. Same goes with this movie – I kinda liked seeing it not knowing where it was shot, who financed it, who made it, or recognizing any of the faces in it. There’s something so otherworldly about this movie, it reminded me of coming across an old 50’s movie you never heard of on TV at 3am, or catching something out of the corner of your eye on the TV in a Mexican or Indian restaurant. It’s kind of an amazing experience (and if you’re wondering, yes I was high and yes I totally did get tempted to look at my phone several times)

    Side note #2: I have the feeling that anyone who watches this movie after this weekend will immediately think of Leto’s Joker when the drug dealer shows up. The crazy Ali G/Die Antwoord style, the buff shirtlessness, the obvious tattoo (“Sex” vs. “Damaged”). I know it’s sacrilege but they obviously can’t repeat what Ledger did and if he’s half as awesome as the guy here, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

  26. Gotta say I agree with Mr. Subtlety on this one. This movie definitely has more style than substance, but the style is really unique and I was absorbed the whole way through. It also does have some really great moments- the ending especially. I also watched it in the theatre, so maybe that is the difference maker.

  27. Bryce John Adalynn

    December 20th, 2018 at 5:25 am

    The walk at home by a girl is also defined on https://bestgrill.reviews/best-smoker-grill-combo/ and I think that there is some combination in both of these. This is what I was told by all the people here.

  28. Lured back to this review by the above amazing spambot, I was surprised to see Vern so excited about the then-upcoming THE BAD BATCH, considering it’s been out for a while and he never reviewed it. My guess is he checked it out and was like “Oh man, forget I mentioned it.” I kind of liked the movie at the time for its odd cast overacting its balls off at every opportunity, but then I made the mistake of watching the special features. The interview with the director instantly dropped the film a letter grade and a half. She just couldn’t have come off as more of a caricature of an insufferable art school hipster dingbat. The kind of person who wears desperately interesting pants and employs the dead-eyed overconfidence of a precocious child actor to cover up the fact that they’re only medium-smart and lack the humility to synthesize their ideas into anything remotely resembling the human experience. Seeing the movie through that lens really lowered it in my estimation. These are the kind of cart-before-horse, overthinking-it aesthetes who can take everything primal and elemental about the creative impulse and turn it into a photo collage. I will not be checking out her other movies.

  29. I liked THE BAD BATCH quite a bit, but yeah, I admit I’m getting a bit tired of this cycle of genre films that keep desperately assuring you that they’re smarter and cooler than a real genre film. BAD BATCH almost seems to be having fun in spite of itself, and every time it starts to really get some steam, it has to stop and remind itself that this is about deconstructing genre, not enjoying it.

    Still, fun is fun, and even if I would probably like an earnest version of the same story better, it’s got more than its fair share of pleasures.

  30. The truth is I still haven’t seen BAD BATCH due to urgency dampened by not hearing any enthusiasm about it form anybody who saw it. But I will get to it.

    Also I’m gonna leave that spambot post. I like it.

  31. In fairness, it has a really great first act and one unexpected cameo (no, not that one) that on their own might be worth the price of admission.

  32. Well, I’ll be damned. I watched this and didn’t hate it. I mean, I’d be lying if I said I paid attention to the whole thing, or if I thought it had a damn thing to say to justify its pretentions, but it looked and sounded cool and there was enough incident and oddness to keep me from getting too bored. I didn’t expect it to have crime thriller elements, so that helped get me through the beginning before the Winonapire showed up, when it’s just unshowered people mumbling and walking (a very popular subgenere in itself). Granted, these are the most half-assed crime thriller elements of all time. It is certainly the only crime story ever told in any medium in which a briefcase full of money, drugs, and guns is stolen and no one at any point even attempts to come looking for it, even after the numbnuts who stole it left his fucking name on the answering machine of the corpse he stole it from. There’s no one to sell the drugs to anyway so I guess it doesn’t really matter. That’s kind of the whole movie. Stuff happens without consequence and then a song plays that makes you think about how deep it all is.

    But like many men I am helpless in the face of a willowy brunette with big dark eyes in a horizontal striped shirt. So that probably helped.

    I more or less hate the acting style but i don’t see how you’d shoot this non-story any other way. If the characters started behaving like fully functional human beings, the whole thing would fall apart. I’m clearly not the audience for this school of cinema, which favors loaded images and halfhearted gestures over exciting narrative, but I more or less enjoyed myself.

    Full disclosure: I watched it on Shudder with Joe Bob Briggs breaking in every 15 minutes to talk about what a dingbat the director is. I think the whole thing might have started pissing me off around the 50-minute mark without those little breathers in which a recognizable human being speaks clearly and concisely about ideas another human being is allowed to understand.

    I seem to have had a similar experience with THE BAD BATCH, the SOUTHLAND TALES to this film’s DONNIE DARKO. My instinct is to hate them, and when I talk about them my tone is dismissive, yet I kind of enjoyed them anyway. So even though the director comes off in her every word and deed as someone you’d meet at a bar and run away from at high speeds because she wouldn’t stop talking about reiki, I will probably check it out if she ever gets another movie off the ground. Maybe a cross country car chase comedy shot entirely on silver emulsion stock with a Django Reinhardt soundtrack starring an ex-American Apparel model with thick eyebrows and Diego Luna as her narcoleptic werewolf lover who never kisses her. It sounds no more awful than the two movies of hers I’ve already inexplicably not despised so I guess I’m down for whatever with this wackjob. Somehow she found the crack in my anti-hipster defenses.

  33. Holy shit, you guys, I checked IMDB and apparently she is attached to a CLIFFHANGER remake with Jason Mamoa. In this age of institutionalized absurdity, I should have known better than to attempt to out-ridiculous reality.

  34. Also it’s going to be a female lead, and an article referred to Momoa’s part as a high profile cameo, so it has been speculated that he’ll be the husband who plummets to his death at the beginning. I’m very curious whether this is a sellout/normal movie or her doing a weirdo take on CLIFFHANGER, like Godard turning a Parker book into MADE IN U.S.A. Either way I look forward to it. Even though I still haven’t gotten around to watching THE BAD BATCH.

  35. I’m looking forward to seeing the look on Mamoa’s face when the 100-pound hipster heroine holds out her tiny hand to him across a 1000-foot chasm and says, “Jump! I’ll catch you!”

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