While vacationing in Morocco with her husband, Susan is the victim of a random violent act that leaves her fighting for her life while setting off a chain of events that links together several different stories from across four countries. As the stories wind together the difficulty and necessity of human communication is explored from different perspectives.
Brad Pitt (Richard), Cate Blanchett (Susan), Mohamed Akhzam (Anwar), Peter Wight (Tom), Harriet Walter (Lilly), Mannou Aghrar (Doctor), Boubker Ait El Caid (Yussef), Said Tarchani (Ahmed), Mustapha Rachidi (Abdullah), Adriana Barraza (Amelia), Elle Fanning (Debbie), Nathan Gamble (Mike), Gael Bernal (Santiago), Rinko Kikuchi (Chieko), Koji Yakusho (Yasujiro), Yuko Murata (Mitsu).
Babel borrows from other films conceptually with the intent of telling several different stories at the same time and somehow tying them together for impact. Unfortunately the film fails on this front when the links between stories aren’t unusual or strong enough to be interesting. Aside from that, the film and the stories are quite interesting though possibly not deserving 143 minutes of screen time. At one point the film almost began to feel like anti-handgun propaganda before some mild action refocuses the audience back to the stories.
Acting was pretty good in Babel with Pitt and Blanchett both delivering nicely. Barraza did exceptionally well delivering good emotion and a very convincing performance. Kikuchi also did nicely displaying a wide range of emotion in a role that had no direct dialogue. The remainder of the supporting cast did well, a compliment considering the large diverse number of actors in the film.
Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were okay but felt a bit lazy at times. Effects were minimal but good and supported the film well. Dialogue was difficult and eventually required full time caption use rather than relying on translation captions which were often missing. Sound was good while the soundtrack was quite mild.
Overall Babel is an interesting film that doesn’t quite deliver on the energy expected at the beginning. At 143 minutes of screen time, the film can feel excessive and does move a bit slow at times. Those who enjoy Indie Drama will likely get the most from this one while Pitt fans will probably be the most disappointed.
With violence, graphic nudity, sexual scenes, foul language, and drug use save this for the oldest teens and above.
Babel is no longer showing in any Littleton Colorado movie theatres.
Official movie site.
Star rating: 3 out of 5
copyright ©2010 Dave
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