Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Babel (2006)

When an American couple (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett) vacationing in Morocco fall victim to a random act of violence, a series of events unfolds across four countries that demonstrates both the necessity and impossibility of human communication. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (21 Grams) won Best Director honors at the Cannes Film Festival for this film, which weaves together three seemingly disparate stories of strangers in strange lands.
My Two Cents: Bizarre in that it stretches a shallow theme of "woe is me" unfairness into an intricately woven, engaging framework; The editing makes this film better than it really is.

NetFlix Rank: Liked It
IMDB Rank: 8/10

Further Thoughts:

I don't know that I buy the connection here between two American tourists, a deaf-mute Japanese teen, an illegal immigrant and a goat-herding Morroccan family. It's forced, and borderline silly. And the running social commentary that life is unfair for the underpriveleged smacks of naivete.

But... there's always the "but," right? Much like in his previous work, Inarritu spins multiple stories concurrently, aligned via a central connection. Here, though, it's not so much an event as it is a need. The characters all lack that "something," and it's what makes their stories compelling, even when I didn't personally like them. Then there's the editing; the vignettes don't intertwine so much as they blend, back and forth, playing off of each other. The style accentuates each situation, even as the message trips over its own heavy handed-ness.


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