Spoiler (click to reveal)
It's worth noting that there is very little explication given as to the state of affairs in this movie. It is presented as near future (or alternate history) of our time line, but other than the hyperbolic deportation policies of the USA there is nothing explicitly sci-fi or even post-apocalyptic about the world in The Bad Batch.
The movie grabbed me when they cut of Arlen's arm and leg in first 15 minutes. This is patched later with a prosthetic leg, but it is pretty radical for a blockbuster style movie like this to go full amputee exploitation so quick. Also sets the stakes pretty high right off the bat.
I was impressed at how dumb they made the protagonist. She is extremely inarticulate, which is unusual in general for movies but I think especially so when we have a strong female action hero (contrast hypercompetent Ripley). Her trip in the desert is the pinnacle of this conceit but I thought worked well. Her final lines are something like: "Maybe the things that happened before and are happening now happened so the things that are going to happen can happen." LOL. Inarticulate, but perfectly fitting with her character arc and personality.
One of the frequent critiques of the film is the aimless meandering, and while this could have been cut a little for time, it reflects very much Arlen's state of mind. Her arc to discover purpose and meaning isn't realized until the very end of the film. Although I have not seen any commentary to this point, her decision does not gel with contemporary feminist criticism, a point that should be addressed (not by me, obviously) in light of both the director and protagonist being ladies.
I imagine the inspiration for this movie was had while attending Burning Man, as a lot of the general aesthetic and depictions of drug use are clearly rooted in that ... culture? The hippie festival community is subversive in this sort of wasteland survival movie, but it also suggests that the people deported are not hard criminals but rather societal dregs, like that colony ship in Hitchhiker's Guide full of hair dressers. The chief antagonist was deported for illegal immigration ... from Cuba! I was so surprised I had to look it up and, indeed, the US reversed it's long standing amnesty for Cuban refugees under the Obama administration. So, I'm not sure if this is subversion, a joke or a jab - but it was strange. If we use this to date the film, Miami Man says he was 16 when he came to the use, no earlier than 2014, and is presumably over 30 in the movie so let's call it 203X or later.