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Babel [Blu-ray]

3.2 out of 5 stars 1,174 customer reviews

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(Jun 03, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Babel (BD)

In Babel, a tragic incident involving an American couple in Morocco spar ks a chain of events for four families in different countrie s throughou t the world. In the struggle to overcome isolation, fear, and displaceme nt, each character discovers that it is family th at ultimately provides solace. In the remote sands of the Moroccan desert, a rifle shot rings out – detonating a chain of events th at will link an American tourist couple's frantic struggle to survive, two Moroccan boys involved in an a ccidental crime, a nanny il legally crossing into Mexico with two Americ an children and a Japanese teen rebel whose father is sought by the poli ce in Tokyo. Sep arated by clashing cultures and sprawling distances, ea ch of these four disparate groups of people are nevertheless hurtling to wards a shared destiny of isolation and grief. In the course of just a few days, they will each face the dizzying sensation of becoming profou ndly 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 a s to the very depths of connection and love. In this mesmerizing, emoti onal film that was shot in three continent s and four languages – and tr averses both the deeply personal and the explosively political – acclaim ed director Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams, Amores Perros) explor es with shattering realism the nature of the barriers that seem to separ ate humankind. In d oing so, he evokes the ancient concept of Babel and questions its modern day implications: the mistaken identities, misunder standing s and missed chances for communication that, though often unsee n, drive our contemporary lives. Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Gar cí a Bernal, Kôji Yakusho, Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi lead an intern ational ensemble of actors and non-professional actors fro m Morocco, Ti juana and Tokyo, who enrich Babel's take on cultural diversity and enhan ce its powerful examination of the links and fr ontiers between and with in us.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Arabic, Berber, English, French, Japanese, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 2008
  • Run Time: 143 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,174 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AEFXGAW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,370 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kona VINE VOICE on 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.
9 Comments 56 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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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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"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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