Review en Español:
Una obra maestra en todo sentido. Babel se desarrolla en 4 lugares distintos cada lugar tiene a sus personajes y cada personaje tiene sus conflictos pero en general todos los personajes comparten una relación con los demás, aunque algunos nunca se llegan a ver en toda la película, eso es lo grandioso de esta película, que podemos conocer profundamente la historia y situación de cada personaje y ademas de compartir un conflicto mundial con los demás personajes.
J'aurais skipper les japonais !
Cast: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Rinko Kikuchi, Gael Garcia Bernal, Adriana Barraza
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writers: Guillermo Arriaga
Synopsis: Four separate groups of people on three different continents are connected by an accident: a vacationing couple (Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett), two young Moroccan goatherds, a deaf Japanese teen (Rinko Kikuchi) and her father, and a Mexican nanny (Adriana Barraza) who takes her young charges across a border without parental permission.
The film Babel by director Alejandro González Iñárritu brings the audience a chill down their spine while watching as four unrelated groups of people are slowly connected by one tragic event. The four groups consist of an american tourist couple, Richard Jones (Brad Pitt) and Susan Jones (Cate Blanchett) vacationing in Morocco, Amelia (Adriana Barraza), the caretaker of the Jones's young children Debbie (Elle Fanning) and Mike Jones (Nathan Gamble) who cross the mexican border with her nephew Santiago (Gael Garcia Bernal), the deaf-mute Japanese girl Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi) and her father, and two moroccan children and their father. As human nature comes into play and the story unfolds itself, the true meaning of how language affects the way humanity acts in certain circumstances is revealed. In each group, the events that had occurred throughout the film are shown through the nature of human communication and how they are affected by human nature's different emotions in the given circumstances. Iñárritu cleverly ties in twists of language and communication acts that occur in specific situations caused by the reaction of everyday Human Nature and the chosen actors bring forth a brilliant performance to this film that make it all come to life on screen.
When in difficult or desperate situations, simple communication and answers are wanted instead of complex theories. After the American tourist Richard's wife Susan is shot in the neck and taken to a hospital in Morocco, the following conversation takes place with the Moroccan doctor:
"RICHARD: Is she going to be ok?
MOROCCAN DOCTOR: It's probable. We're going to try to save her arm. She's been bleeding internally, and there's been some clotting so there's a high risk of gangrene.
RICHARD: But she's going to be ok? "
Ignoring what the doctor had said to him, Richard makes it clear that he does not want a complicated answer, instead he wants the answer to his simple question. Although doctors are usually praised for their highly qualitative use of language when speaking to their clients, when in a desperate situation such as this one, there would be no need for such a complicated answer. Simplicity and a direct answer to the question is all that is wanted in this difficult position.
Indirect speech, mutual and individual knowledge come into play throughout the film especially between the two American tourists Richard and Susan Jones who are on vacation in Morocco. Thus causing confusion, and frustration between the couple because of their lack of straightforwardness. In the following conversation, each person knows what one another is talking about, but this is not admitted and so each person thinks that the other does not know.
"RICHARD: You're never going to forgive me, are you?
SUSAN: Do you even know what I'm talking about?
RICHARD: Susan, please; we didn't come all this way just to argue."
Conversing about their past relations and problems with their family, their use of veiled language and indirect speech hides the intended content that each persona wants to establish to the other, thus seemingly misunderstanding one another's true intention.
The common use of veiled language and innuendo creates an intentionally cloudy meaning for fellow characters and audience members. For example, when Santiago asks the children at the wedding "who wants to help me with the chickens?" he fails to portray the real intention of what the word 'help' means in this situation. It really means, "who wants to help me kill some chickens?" which has a completely different intention than what he had originally suggested. Because of human nature not wanting to upset anyone with direct language, Santiago indirectly mentions 'killing' to the children mainly because of their age and willingness to contribute to this act. If the knowledge had been mutual, the children would not have helped him catch chickens, while because of the use of his veiled language, the knowledge was individual and no one else knew his true intention at the time.
When wanting to understand or communicate something effectively to someone else, simplicity and direct speech is needed. Because of human nature, this type of straight-forward communication has failed over and over again as we could see in the film Babel by the amount of veiled language, miscommunication and indirect speech there was between the characters, causing the whole community in the film to become confused and misunderstood. Even though in the end of the film all is well, humans continue to fail to distinguish simplicity between innuendo and veiled language. Although sometimes these forms of communications are needed, in the events from Babel, they are rendered useless. As the events untie themselves in the duration of the film, emotion such as fear, remorse, hate and happiness affect the way of human communication because of that natural nature of human behaviour in the given situations. Overall, bringing all these topics into context, Alejandro González Iñárritu has done a fantastic job with the story plot, and direction, making the film a huge success in the business and should be rated accordingly.
4 1/2 /5 Stars
Review by Izzi Zigan(2006)