Action / Drama


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August 16, 2011 at 01:06 PM


Brad Pitt as Richard
Cate Blanchett as Susan
Elle Fanning as Debbie Jones
Michael Peña as John - Border Patrol
706.69 MB
23.976 fps
2hr 23 min
P/S 21 / 103

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mstomaso 9 / 10

Thoughtful, edgy, engaging and ambiguous

Babel is one of the most intelligent and artfully made films of 2006. The film has two central themes - culture and communication. It also exposes the connections between these themes in the arenas of politics, religion and geography sensitively and intelligently. The tag-line, though intentionally obtuse, sums the film up well - "If you want to be understood... Listen" - The parable is designed to speak to people all over the world who seem to believe that the meaning and importance of political boundaries somehow supersedes the value of humanity. It has especially important messages for Americans, however. And its release was well timed to coincide with an election (2006) which may, in the long term, provide some hope for American foreign policy.

The film brilliantly weaves four deeply interconnected stories engaging five cultures on three continents. The cultures are North American, Mexican, Islamic, Japanese and Japanese/deaf. At the heart of each tragedy is an inability to communicate. The tragedies begin with bad decisions that spin each plot somewhat out of control once cultural interference and miscommunication kick in.

Brad Pitt and Kate Blanchett play a troubled American couple having very little fun on a vacation in the Middle East. Susan (Blanchett) is shot by a young boy practicing with a gun (The two Middle Eastern boys who play the brothers in this film give Oscar-worthy performances, unfortunately I can't get their names out of IMDb easily). Three crises are simultaneously set off, as the Americans' nanny must find a way to attend her son's wedding in Mexico while Susan's medical crisis unfolds, and the poor Islamic family responsible for the gun begin to undergo a devastating crisis of their own. Of course the United States executive branch (not the government - sorry, we are still a democratically organized republic regardless of who sits in the oval office) interprets the crisis as an act of terrorism and a political crisis threatens to doom Susan to bleeding to death in a small remote town in the desert. Finally, in a seemingly disconnected story, Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi), a young, deaf, Japanese volleyball player is coming of age. Her mother has committed suicide and she seems bound to work out her problems with her father by devoting herself to a lascivious lifestyle.

The performances are, all around, excellent. The directing is exquisite - perfectly paced and visualized. This is a great film which, despite its commercial pedigree and big budget, achieves a rare level of artistry - proving that blockbusters do not have to be sold short. Babel will make you think, and think well. Make sure you bring your attention span and brain, however.

Very highly recommended.

Reviewed by locationmanager 10 / 10

Excellent performances, superb direction, wonderful script!

Babel is my film of the year, and probably the best film I've seen in quite a few years.
The film looks at relationships, from husband/wife, parent/children, brother/sister and plays around the themes of love in adversity. The characters are all interlinked in a very random way, it's a little like 10 degrees of separation.
The film is set in Morocco, Mexico, Japan and the US, and the director makes full use of the different backdrops to bring the picture alive.
The characters are deep and insightful, each has a problem to face up to and the subtle, naturalistic way their issues play out make for truly emotional cinema. This is not a film about heroes, it's a film about trying to make the right choices when your back is to the wall, and the doubts that go with this.
Great movie, especially if you're a parent as your protective instincts will kick in at least once during this movie!

Reviewed by Jenn Brown 9 / 10


Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's direction is brilliantly layered and intricately woven. He deftly uses different film stock, imagery, sound, and stories to weave a single tale out of four disparate ones, a talent he's shown in other films.

The story by screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga and Inarritu has one incident ricochet around the globe, and peeling back the layers of culture to show the frustrating inability to communicate, and the poignancy and universality of familial love.

Each story is complete, but a series of snapshots that leave as many questions as answers. As the stories unfold, the backstories and the futures of the characters are chock full of possibility and pain. As one commenter during the Q&A said, it was frustratingly beautiful. Each storyline deals with family and conflict from the inability to communicate or to understand.

All the performances are incredible, and very touching. Brad Pitt did an excellent job, and the always outstanding Cate Blanchett, a powerhouse actor if there ever was one, has the least screen time of any of the leads. Few can do so much with so little. But the really outstanding performance is Rinko Kikuchi as a deaf-mute Tokyo teen.

To say any more would possibly lesson the experience, so let me just say this: it may seem confusing at times, but by the end, it will seem like poetry.

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