movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

divided we fall

As told in the book of Genesis, the story of the Tower of Babel…
All mankind unties together and decides to build a tower that reaches to the heavens so that they can be like God. Due to their arrogance and blasphemy, God curses man, making them all speak different languages, there fore causing mass confusion and stopping the construction of the tower. No one can communicate and they spread out around the world.
BABEL is the new film from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (AMORES PERROS, 21 GRAMS) and his collaborator, Guillermo Arriaga who wrote both of his previous films as well as this new one. This is the third part of a planned trilogy of films involving multiple storylines, loss, confusion and redemption that show the connection between all of the characters involved. This film premiered last month at the Cannes Film Festival where it won the Best Director prize.
BABEL is a look at four different stories that take place all around the world and have both literal and thematic connections to each other. The title refers to the confusion that fills the entire world motivated not only by a language barrier, but every difference that we have with our fellow man. These differences include language, culture, borders, and disabilities. This confusion leads to fear and misunderstanding that leads to violence and tragedy.
I don’t want to get into the specifics of the four stories, but they are all equally interesting and engaging, so it did not matter to me that their connections were not obvious right away. The people and their journeys entranced me. I would recommend going into this film knowing as little as possible about the plot and the circumstances that these people go through.
The performances in the film are fantastic, but there are two standouts. The first is a young actress, Rinko Kikuchi, who plays a young girl in Japan that is deaf and mute. You feel her frustration, pain and desperation as you follow her story. The other performance and the best of the film is delivered by Brad Pitt. He will be the marketing key to the movie as he is the only real movie star, but he is incredible. The range of emotion and realism that he conveys will catch you off guard and will surely be remembered come Oscar season.
Inarritu is an incredible talent as a filmmaker and it is clearly evident here. His style and hand held approach puts you into all of the stories so that you can immediately identify with them. While the stories jump back and forth in both time and location, I never felt lost or confused, just captivated. All of the stories have a literal connection, but the one that stuck with me was the thematic connection. By highlighting all of our differences and showing how they can tear us apart, he really shows how we are all the same. Human beings, despite their differences in language, culture, boarders and disabilities, are all linked and similar.
BABEL is a somber movie that seems to dwell in the misery and desperation of its characters, but I think there is much more to it than that if you let it. There is a hope and a call for understanding so that our differences do not continue to tear us all apart. For me, this is a movie of unity at its core and I really hope that people can keep an open mind while watching it. It will stay with you long after you leave the theater and give you plenty to think about.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of Inaritu, so this sounds great. Excited to see it. Thanks for your well thought-out and un-spoilerific review.

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, thanks for whetting my appetite. I was going to see it no matter what, but now I'm quite excited. I'm so pleased for Brad Pitt. It's time for him to rise above the pretty face label. Now he can finally showcase his acting chops.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yep, i love alejandro`s movies, im mexican so im proud of him, i like brat too
this movie rocks

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for a very thoughtful and impressive review about "Babel".

May I offer one correction about your review?

The name of the Japanese actress who plays a young girl that is deaf and mute is RINKO KIKUCHI, not Koji Yakusho. Koji Yakusho plays her father.

1:56 AM  
Blogger opinionated said...

I saw a screening of Babel with an enthusiastic invited audience. I was engaged by the film right away with it's technique and quickly built tensions. But soon, I felt betrayed by the pretentions of the film, and it lost me emotionally. There is a lot of summing up of characters at the end after a fairly long leasurly build up. I thought all the performances where fine, but it bothers me that we don't know why Brad Pitts character leaves his family, or what the Japanese girl writes in the note, or don't follow the rest of the plight of the kids in the desert(oh, they where found) And wouldn't an illegal alien think twice about going to Mexico without a pass and with 2 white, white children after 16 years?

6:42 AM  
Blogger Bikas Mishra said...

A very well written piece on Babel.
Inarritu's distinct style has won him fans everywhere. Amidst all the confusion and desperation of the characters, he succeeds to present his very own sort of cinema that we love.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Amelia said...

Great review. I like the theme of this movie and so is the performances in this movie were just to perfect. This movie is having a deeper meaning that few people realizes.
movies

5:22 AM  

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