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In the remote sands of the Moroccan desert, a rifle shot rings out-- detonating a chain of events that will link an American tourist couples 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 Babels take on cultural diversity and enhance its powerful examination of the links and frontiers between and within us.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
"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.Read more ›
"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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
D*mn it Brad Pitt! I'll leave my guy for you without a second's flinch. On the other hand, this is my favorite movie of the guy because of his gripping performance.Published 4 days ago by Amanda Chapman
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|the ending?? (spoiler)||
the wikipedia entry on the film has a partial translation of the note:
Mar 18, 2007 by Peter Kim | See all 2 posts
|I'll wait for a Special Edition||
The 2 disc edition just features a 90 minute feature length making-of video diary, it has already been released in Europe.
Jun 28, 2007 by Omnipotent | See all 4 posts
yeah... i'm gonna wait. i was a litte P.O'd that 21 grams had nothing to offer when it came out. i recently saw that a collector's edition came out. i'm a stickler for special feature, so now i'm gonna have to buy the DVD twice.it wouldn't be the first time(goodfellas, clerks, casino, mean... Read More
Feb 21, 2007 by michael rodriguez | See all 4 posts
|Use "Babel" to Create Your Own Japanese Youth Culture Film||
How I viewed this:
- Japanese deafmute schoolgirl tries to get her dentist to rape her, fails
- Flashes her furry crotch at the boys in the J-Pop
- Takes ecstasy in a nightclub, potentially hoping to get raped, fails
- Has some sort of angsty-teen freakout involving her mother, invites that... Read More
Feb 12, 2009 by Aiex Halo | See all 4 posts
|Babel 'Blu-Ray'||Be the first to reply|