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Review: Babel

11.06.2006

A couple vacationing in Morocco, a deaf Japanese girl is trying to cope with life as a horny teenager, an illegal nanny brings the children she baby-sits to Mexico for a wedding and the one thing that interlinks all of these circumstances is a rifle. The film then follows each story as they escalate into one big tragedy after another.

I left this movie feeling really bummed out and a little pissed. I felt like I had seen this movie before and then realized that it should have been called CRASH 2 INTERNATIONAL. Let’s not fool ourselves; this isn’t the first film to develop the idea of having different people or stories be connected through one parallel event. Way back when, a little film called GRAND CANYON had the same formula, heck even PULP FICTION worked the same way but at least their characters were interesting! Because one event unfolded, there were numerous chain reactions of events, which the film explored. I would have preferred it if they removed one or two of the stories and had focused on the principle characters more. Everything was pretty predicable and you could easily fill in the gaps as to where the story was going and how it was going to intertwine.

The best part of the movie was the acting; everyone did a worthy performance of an Osc-nod (Oscar-nomination). But I found that the characters were one dimensional and stereotypical and I didn't really care for any of them. I know Brad Pitt’s getting older, but I wasn't sure if those wrinkles under his eyes were make-up or the real thing, either way he still looks good and his acting is always great! Gael Gárcia Bernal - this guy really needs to do more American movies. If he plays his cards right, he could be the next "it" guy in Hollywood. His role wasn't that big, but he played it with a lot of charm and intensity. Rinko Kikuchi plays the deaf Japanese girl. She was good but the desperation in her character was so uncomfortable to watch, your head just tilts back and you make that same face before you start brushing your teeth. Yeah, it’s that unsettling and a little disturbing at times.

The directing was just…alright. You got a real sense of the locations and you were able to determine where you were when the stories switched back and forth. However, some of the scenes I found were really drawn out and border line boring. The political impact of what was happening was only lightly touched in the background of the film and more like an afterthought and should been delved into more deeply.

I get it, shit happens. Couldn't they have at least put a little pep in the movie so it's not sooo depressing? I think this formula has run its course. The only thing working for this movie was the acting; but even that was not enough to carry this movie. What's the moral of the story? Don't target practice on moving buses, apparently it screws up everyone’s lives around the world.

-- by Tim Goernert

Source: JoBlo.com

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