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Babel [Blu-ray] (2006)

Brad Pitt , Cate Blanchett , Alejandro González Iñárritu  |  R |  Blu-ray
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (918 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Mohamed Akhzam, Peter Wight
  • Directors: Alejandro González Iñárritu
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 2008
  • Run Time: 143 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (918 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MCH5TK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,958 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Babel [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In Babel, a tragic incident involving an American couple in Morocco sparks a chain of events for four families in different countries throughout the world. In the struggle to overcome isolation, fear, and displacement, each character discovers that it is family that ultimately provides solace.

In the remote sands of the Moroccan desert, a rifle shot rings out-- detonating a chain of events that will link an American tourist couple’s frantic struggle to survive, two Moroccan boys involved in an accidental crime, a nanny illegally crossing into Mexico with two American children, and a Japanese teen rebel whose father is sought by the police in Tokyo. Separated by clashing cultures and sprawling distances, each of these four disparate groups of people are nevertheless hurtling towards a shared destiny of isolation and grief. In the course of just a few days, they will each face the dizzying sensation of becoming profoundly lost – lost in the desert, lost to the world, lost to themselves – as they are pushed to the farthest edges of confusion and fear as well as to the very depths of connection and love.

In this mesmerizing, emotional film that was shot in three continents and four languages – and traverses both the deeply personal and the explosively political -- acclaimed director Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams, Amores Perros) explores with shattering realism the nature of the barriers that seem to separate humankind. In doing so, he evokes the ancient concept of Babel> and questions its modern day implications: the mistaken identities, misunderstandings and missed chances for communication that-- though often unseen-- drive our contemporary lives. Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael García Bernal, Kôji Yakusho, Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi lead an international ensemble of actors and non-professional actors from Morocco, Tijuana and Tokyo, who enrich Babel’s take on cultural diversity and enhance its powerful examination of the links and frontiers between and within us.

Amazon.com

Brilliantly conceived, superbly directed, and beautifully acted, Babel is inarguably one of the best films of 2006. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu and his co-writer, Guillermo Arriaga (the two also collaborated on Amores Perros and 21 Grams) weave together the disparate strands of their story into a finely hewn fabric by focusing on what appear to be several equally incongruent characters: an American (Brad Pitt) touring Morocco with his wife (Cate Blanchett) become the focus of an international incident also involving a hardscrabble Moroccan farmer (Mustapha Rachidi) struggling to keep his two young sons in line and his family together. A San Diego nanny (Adriana Barraza), her employers absent, makes the disastrous decision to take their kids with her to a wedding in Mexico. And a deaf-mute Japanese teen (the extraordinary Rinko Kikuchi) deals with a relationship with her father (Koji Yakusho) and the world in general that's been upended by the death of her mother. It is perhaps not surprising, or particularly original, that a gun is the device that ties these people together. Yet Babel isn't merely about violence and its tragic consequences. It's about communication, and especially the lack of it--both intercultural, raising issues like terrorism and immigration, and intracultural, as basic as husbands talking to their wives and parents understanding their children. Iñárritu's command of his medium, sound and visual alike, is extraordinary; the camera work is by turns kinetic and restrained, the music always well matched to the scenes, the editing deft but not confusing, and the film (which clocks in at a lengthy 143 minutes) is filled with indelible moments. Many of those moments are also pretty stark and grim, and no will claim that all of this leads to a "happy" ending, but there is a sense of reconciliation, perhaps even resolution. "If You Want to be Understood... Listen," goes the tagline. And if you want a movie that will leave you thinking, Babel is it. --Sam Graham

Beyond Babel

Other Interweaving Storylines on DVD

Other DVDs by Director Alejandro González Iñárritu

Why We Love Cate Blanchett

Stills from Babel (click for larger image)








Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable film April 27, 2009
Format:DVD
Several stories set in places around the world are related only by a freak accident with a rifle: An American couple (Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchette) are on a tour bus in the Moroccan desert when the wife is shot by a some poor children who are trying out their new rifle. Back home in San Diego, the couple's housekeeper takes their children across the border into Mexico with near-tragic results, while the rifle is traced to a businessman in Japan.

The separate-but-ultimately-related-stories technique is similar to that used in the movies Crash and Traffic and used just as effectively. Each story is grim and edge-of-your-seat intense; I don't think I took a deep breath during the whole movie. All of the actors are excellent as is the location photography. We see some good, bad, and a lot of ugly in various cultures as families deal with unexpected events.

The title relates to the Tower of Babel, where God confounded the people's language so they couldn't understand each other. Certainly, each story has frustrating moments of poor communication that become matters of life and death. Though the movie is long, the tension never lets up and I was really caught up in the drama. Highly recommended.
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84 of 95 people found the following review helpful
By Suzanne
Format:DVD
I have to start by saying how desperately hard I found this film to review. It's so complex, has so much to say, and works on so many levels. At the same time, it's not an easy film. It's apparent reading the reviews how much trouble people have had with this film - for any number of reasons. Perhaps they felt it a bit long, and didn't care about what was being said. Perhaps they couldn't relate to the actions and choices the characters made, and didn't sympathize or empathize with them. Or perhaps the film's unusual structure left them a bit cold and disconnected. Whatever the reason, the 3.5 star current rating reflects the majority's inability to really "connect" with this film.

For those who don't know, Babel tells 4 different revolving stories across 4 countries (USA, Mexico, Morocco, Japan), and how the actions of one effected all of the others. On another level, the Biblical story of Babel was a story of how man tried to build a tower to God. In doing so they were struck down and punished by speaking different languages - rendering their ability to communicate null. Babel takes this idea of man's inability to communicate and creates a film that expresses this idea on a multitude of levels. Whether it's through race and discrimination, cultural differences, handicaps, or through personal anger and estrangement.

I also find it very interesting that the over-arching idea of communication is told in a backwards but interlocking fashion through the 4 storylines. Starting from the last to enter to the first what we see is: Man's desperate, primal need to communicate with others. This basic idea is rendered in a heartfelt, poignant manner through Rinko Kikuchi's performance of a deaf teenager, and reiterated in many scenes.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harsh and Authentic November 27, 2007
Format:DVD
"Babel" wasn't easy to watch. The objective wasn't to entertain. Early on, one member of my family left the room because the reality was so intense. I was fascinated because the patina and shine surrounding most commercially ambitious films was missing from "Babel." I am drawn to the reality of movies like this, in the same sort of way I begin watching TV by starting at the top of the cable channels and working my way down to the networks. These days the networks feel overly contrived and fake, which is why they are usually my last choice.

"Babel" was about alot of things, and it was certainly thought provoking on many levels. Of all the themes worthy of discussion, I'm left thinking about the fragility of my modern, sheltered, western existance. The main characters in this movie are all just a random moment and a little bad luck and/or bad judgement away from total disaster.

I agree with most of the previous reviewers who found beauty in the directing, acting, camera work, and audio. Even the extras, such as the tourists on the bus whose growing fear is palpable, added to many dramatic moments. Most important, I think the movie was able to put us as nearly as possible (while sitting on my couch in the safety of my home) into the experiences of the main characters. Particularly memorable were the scenes with the brilliant young actress playing the deaf/mute. The sound came and went, the camera shook back and forth in dramatic anxiety, and the visual stimulation was overwhelming, as if we were experiencing what the young woman was experiencing. I understood the dreadful lonliness she was feeling while surrounded by hundreds of people in the club and on the streets of Tokyo.
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145 of 179 people found the following review helpful
"Babel" is the latest narratively and chronologically twisted epic from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. This is getting to be a specialty of his. He weaves different plots and characters together in unlikely ways hoping to surprise and enhance the dramatic affect of his storytelling. It brought him wide acclaim for his breakthrough "Amores Perros" a funny and thrilling ride for man and dog! The device was a bit more unnecessary in "21 Grams"--but that smaller film ended up being my choice for the best acted film of its year. But now he takes his skill and technical prowess to his biggest canvas yet.

"Babel" is set in Morocco, Mexico, Japan and the United States. We follow the interlocking stories of a Moroccan farming family, a couple of American tourists, a disaffected and deaf/mute Japanese schoolgirl, and a Mexican maid and her two American charges. One bullet brings all the stories together. As one of the tourists, Cate Blanchett, is accidentally shot--the repercussions are felt around the world.

This is an ambitious picture, and I do believe the narrative framing and structure enhance the overall experience. From a technical standpoint, there is not much more you could ask for--this is an awesome achievement. From editing, score, screenplay, cinematography and art direction--"Babel" is propelled to the short list of great studio films this year. The acting is uniformly excellent. Brad Pitt as Blanchett's husband and Rinku Kikuchi as the Japanese girl have been singled out repeatedly (and are likely Oscar contenders), but everyone here is in top form. This is heavy drama, and I can understand why that scares some people away--but the payoff is worth it. It is harrowing and unpleasant at times, but riveting and emotional throughout.
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