Iñárritu (“21 Grams”) also reminds us of what a scary world we’re living in right now. Globalisation may have bought the world together, but fallacy is making it a very dangerous environment.

Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Peter Wight, Harriet Walter, Trevor Martin, Matyelok Gibbs, Claudine Acs, André Oumansky, Elle Fanning, Gael Garcia Bernal

Like a bee, a good political thriller has to sting in order to accomplish its mission. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s “Babel” may also have sucked the life out of its – a gruelling flick like this could only leave a filmmaker bruised, battered and seeking the closest bottle of booze – carrier, but it’s a small sacrifice considering the unforgettable swell you’ll endure from it. This pain is good; welcome, its one sting you’ll gladly waiver the ointment for.

Like last year’s “Crash”, “Babel” takes a set of unrelated people – in this case, scattered across the globe – and interweaves their harrowing stories by films end. And like the aforementioned Oscar Winner of 2006, it’ll stir up many thoughts; possibly even set you out on a different path (or, in the very least, have you cancelling that trip to). When films work this way, effecting and stirring, you know you’re going your money’s worth from cinema – for a change.

A tragic incident involving an American couple in Morocco sparks a chain of events for four families in different countries throughout the world. Tied by condition but separated by continent, culture and language, each character discovers that it is family that ultimately provides succour.

Not so much a film about the blurred and misinterpreted lines of communication – though it definitely does focus on that – but the mere fact that every decision you make, ends in a consequence tied directly to that decision, “Babel” serves as a reminder of the human condition, and in other ways, a manual. It’s the decisions we make, that shape our lives – no matter how small – and though a lot of it is out of hands, we’ve – somewhat, anyway – only got ourselves to blame in a lot of situations. You take a walk down the dark windy road – you know you’re asking for trouble. You eat month-old leftovers from the fridge – again, you’re asking for trouble. You travel to a foreign land, immerse in political turmoil, you’re asking for trouble. You take pot shots at buses of American tourists? Prepare to reap the whirlwind.

Iñárritu (“21 Grams”) also reminds us of what a scary world we’re living in right now. Globalisation may have bought the world together, but fallacy is making it a very dangerous environment.

Without the Mexican writer/director’s effecting screenplay they’ve had been a lot lesser, but as they stand, the performances by the immense cast are as solid as an unthawed turkey dinner. Though the film has been somewhat marketed as a Brad Pitt/Cate Blanchett offering, and despite the fact that they’re both very good, they’re in the film about as much as everyone else is – and their co-stars are no less grand. Take Adriana Bazzara as the compassionate Amelia, whose decision to illegally transport the two children to Mexico from the states, backfires big time; or Koji Yakusho who’ll evoke tears as the distraught, lost deaf girl, whose seemingly in search of well, love. Just splendid stuff.

You’ll cry. You’ll smile. You’ll be on edge. But most of all, you’ll be educated by “Babel”.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris


Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole. Loves David Lynch, David Fincher... actually, any filmmaker by the name of David.

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