Plot – Tragedy strikes a married couple on vacation in the Moroccan desert, touching off an interlocking story involving four different families.
Director – Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Genre – Drama
Released – 2006
When it comes to Babel by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, I’m left wondering what could have been and despite sharing the same intertwining story structure as the interesting Amores Perros and the finely crafted 21 Grams, just how disappointing of a finale to the Death Trilogy it ended up being. Babel is a truly global production, hopping between Mexico, the USA, Morocco, and Japan, with each corresponding story affecting the others in unexpected manners. While this way of filmmaking may have worked in his previous movies, here I found it hindered the prosecution and makes Babel feel unfocused.
Babel isn’t a film without merit. Two of the storylines taking place in Mexico and Morrocco I found thought-provoking and engaging to watch, while the ensemble cast produced top-notch acting throughout, Blanchett is especially riveting as an American tourist who’s been shot while touring North Africa. I also would like the commend Iñárritu for his ambition throughout this endeavour, attempting to produce a thought-provoking and memorable film that touches on the six degrees of separation/butterfly effect, where a small event across the globe can lead to unexpected circumstances, with each location lovingly realised through the use of stunning cinematography that gave each its own feel and personality.
Unfortunately, its uncompromising desire to give equal screentime to each of the three stories meant that you had to move away from two interesting storylines with characters you could get invested in, to follow a deaf-mute teenage girl wandering around Tokyo, while she deals with the suicide of her mother and a distant father by exposing herself to strangers and not a great deal else, with the final connection to the other stories feeling a stretch at best, in fact, the other two stories would have been exactly the same with her removed from the film altogether.
Then, of course, you have the presence of Pitt as the second American tourist. who once again puts in a good performance, however, having the films two biggest names in one timeline and the other two made up of actors mostly unknown to western audiences, further unbalances the production and leaves the other two feeling not as important in comparison.
Babel is a film filled with both noteworthy performances and compelling moments, however, doesn’t live up to expectations and leaves the viewer with more questions than answers, especially when it comes to the third of the stories, which felt less about furthering the plot and more like an excuse to show female nudity, the longer it progressed.