Screen Time: 15%
Age: 7 years old
Directed: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Country: France, USA, Mexico
Language: English, Arabic, Berber, Spanish, Japanese
Genre: Coming of Age, Drama, Thriller
Four interlocking stories all connected by a single gun all converge at the end and reveal a complex and tragic story of the lives of humanity around the world and how we truly aren't all that different. In Morocco, a troubled married couple are on vacation trying to work out their differences.
Meanwhile, a Moroccan herder buys a rifle for his sons so they can keep the jackals away from his herd. A girl in Japan dealing with rejection, the death of her mother, the emotional distance of her father, her own self-consciousness, and a disability among many other issues, deals with modern life in the enormous metropolis of Tokyo, Japan that is literally the size of the state of California.
Then, on the opposite side of the world the married couple's Mexican nanny takes the couple's 2 children with her to her son's wedding in Mexico, only to come into trouble on the return trip. Combined, it provides a powerful story and an equally powerful looking glass into the lives of seemingly random people around the world and it shows just how connected we really are.
Movie Reviews[contains spoilers]
Author: phil-1119 from IMDb
Want to be mislead into thinking you're about to see a great movie on
the clash of cultures? Enter Babel.
Taken under the wings of Hollywood's altermondialists, who hope to score points in their quest to denounce the rising barriers between countries/cultures, Inarritu wastes 2h30 of your time to show you a series of loosely connected and predictable events triggered by idiotic characters who get what they deserve.
Why is this such a disappointment? After all, showing idiots get in trouble on the screen usually works! It doesn't work here because you'd think the clash of cultures and the language barriers is the cause of all the problems that occur in the movie when in fact, it's nothing like that. The characters get in trouble because of their complete lack of logic and the authorities actually act accordingly to minimize the damage.
I think Inarritu wants us to be more sympathetic to the cause of complete imbeciles vs. officials abusing their powers against "poor and innocent people" – none of which are not portrayed in this movie.
Case in point: a/ The clash between the drunk Mexican and the US customs agent would have been just the same had the drunk been a Texan red neck. I'm even surprised Inarritu shows us how "understanding" the US agents are by accepting to look for the kids the next day. You'd think, as a good left-wing, anti-establishment activist that they'd have arrested the maid, not trusted a single word she said and left the kids to die in the desert! b/ The clash between the American tourists and the locals in Morocco would have been just as bad between Moroccans. Proof of that is the local tour guide is no better -he's actually worse- at getting help than Brad Pitt – who delivers a pathetic and predictable performance. Next, the police find the culprits in less time than it takes to say "shoot", by moderately roughing up the locals - which is not shocking given the severity of the event and if you've seen what it's like in Morocco.
So what is he trying to say? That the police were effective? That the US government did a good job? Finally, the link between the Japanese family and the rest of the film.... well you just have to see it to believe it: I've never seen such loosely connected stories in the same film. Not only are they loosely connected, but they don't even come together at the end of the movie - something Inarritu had managed quite well in Amores Peros.
Maybe if he'd gone through the trouble of telling us the parallel story of the Russian or Israeli factory worker who built the bullet used to shoot the tourist, we'd have had another 30mn or 45mn of lame and useless storytelling.
I was caught once with Y tu Mama Tambien, thinking Gael García Bernal who'd done such a good job in Amores Peros would bring us another good story - which ended up being about jerking off at the pool and swearing for absolutely no reason for 1h30 – something my Mexican and Colombian friends were ashamed off (and they were not raised with a silver spoon in their mouth). I was caught yet again with Babel, mislead by the title, by the producer, by its cast and by the fact that it had been a favorite in Cannes, Toronto and other film festivals.
Such movies are usually favorites because they want to denounce the establishment and we all know the social penchant of artists and movie critics – that's fine. Except this movie fails on all aspects it tackles!!! Independent movie-goers: Don't drew because a movie is simply off the beaten path; don't fall in love or get all sympathetic because you see a bunch of peasants get beaten up by police, just because you don't like Bush – it happens everyday and it's been like this since the dawn of men.
There are limits to abusing one's good faith and this director does just that for 2h30. He takes you on an empty ride, with an empty story, empty characters and worst of all a fully predictable plot from the moment you realize you've been conned into seeing a movie not worth the film it's printed on.