Bad Boys for Life
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Superb cinematography. Great directorship and magnificent acting crew from Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Adriana Barraza to Mostafa Rachidi and the two young Morrocan boys who were simply gems.
A great movie that you'll never want to see again- The last half of the movie is sad af (not that the first half is much happier). Love how Inarritu was able to tie together characters from across the world. I don't think there was one bad performance in this movie either.
I'm sure if Rotten Tomatoes could rewrite history they would change the rating of 69%.
The direction, the storyline, the cameo appearances, the soundtrack, all come together to form an experience for the viewer that is both heartbreaking and uplifting. If you get what this film is about, and I find it hard to believe there are a lot of people who don't, then you will get a reward that can be re-visited often, in my case annually.
Babel is, without doubt, the greatest film of the 21st century.....so far!
It illustrates how our actions can affect people on the other side of the world, and how we do not hear the story of others, but only those of our own culture/language.
The screenplay is excellent. As is Brad Pitt's performance. But the exposure scene at the restaurant went too far.
A disappointing movie from one of my favourite directors. I really understand how people can call this a masterpiece but for me it's was way to mixed. As a movie it suffers from a lot of different tones and stories and you never really lock in anywere and don't really care about the storylines.
I was moved by parts of this film and was left completely cold by others that felt overly contrived and exploitative. Alejandro Gonzalez-IÃ±arritu has explored a similar plot contrivance before with both Amores Perros (2000) and 21 Grams (2003) where very different people are roped together by strange coincidences. Here it didn't work as well it usually does, in my opinion, because some of the plot threads, particularly the Japanese, felt as though they were very thinly connected if at all to the conflicts occurring in other people's lives. Being annoyed by this prevented me from buying into the anguish of these people and therefore I was not as emotionally affected by the film as I should have been.
In the Moroccan countryside two young boys, Yussef, Boubker Ait El Caid, and Ahmed, Said Tarchani, are given a Winchester rifle and encouraged to shoot at jackals. They decided to experiment with shooting at different objects and accidentally shoot a bus carrying struggling couple Susan, Cate Blanchett, and Richard Jones, Brad Pitt. The bullet pierces the skin of Susan's neck and she is at risk of dying if they are unable to contact a doctor soon enough. Richard is forced to call his housekeeper and nanny for his children, Amelia, Adriana Barraza, who had been planning to attend her son's wedding in Mexico. She takes the children along with her to the wedding with potentially dangerous consequences. The person who gave the gun to the parents of the Moroccan boys is the father of a young Japanese deaf girl, Chieko, Rinko Kikuchi, who is desperate for male attention. We see all of these plotlines slowly develop as the misery of all of the characters increase.
The whole film is presumably a parable for The Tower of Babel biblical story in which one mistake leads to disastrous consequences for all regardless of what language they speak. In the film the mistake of Yussef and Ahmed causes American tourists to suffer through a major injury, a Mexican woman to become abandoned with two children in the middle of the Mexican desert and a Japanese girl to flirt with a police detective. This metaphor does not entirely work because the two wealthy groups, the Americans and the Japanese, are not majorly affected by the mistake but the poor groups, the Moroccans and the Mexicans, are left with nothing. This was possibly a comment on how class differences and racism mean that certain people will prosper despite negative events occurring and others will be severely punished even if they are only tangentially connected but it never really conveyed that idea clearly.
The big issue I had with the film was the Japanese plotline as we see a teenager girl flashing young men and us with her naked vagina and appearing completely nude in front of the police detective. The interesting element of the character was her struggle to communicate with those around her as she is deaf but this was not properly engaged with. Instead we are meant to feel sad for her as she throws herself at various men but also titillated by the lingering shots of her body. I felt as though this plotline was entirely unnecessary and had it been cut out I think the film would have been better for it.
The other plotlines can be affecting, particularly the Mexican strand, and they feature great acting from both notable movie stars, Pitt and Blanchett, in addition to unknown faces like El Caid. The troubled relationship between Pitt and Blanchett and their reconciliation as she struggles to survive featured some of the better written scenes in the film and Pitt and Blanchett really sell their icy cold demeanors. Barraza gets a showy role but she is very good and Gael Garcia Bernal is typically enjoyable as her wild nephew. If you want to see great performances from Pitt and Blanchett there are many other films that you could watch but Barazza and the unknown actors playing the Moroccans make it worth it.
This is definitely a film I would recommend because although a quarter of it could be cut out and is overly self-important it does contain great acting and some compelling storylines. It's more entertaining than your average Academy Award nominee and it doesn't require too much engagement because it's an ensemble film.
Babel is a film dedicated to telling us the importance of communication and how in todayâ(TM)s world it can fail us. This film however does not follow in the footsteps of the tower of Babel but in the actual babbling of children.
The film develops four separate story lines that seem to be completely disconnected but through no real mystery end up being related in dumb ways.
We meet a married couple (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett) traveling together through Morocco in an attempt to reconnect but failing at every turn. We also meet a young shepherd boy and his brother who accidentally shoot at the bus the young couple is traveling in seriously injuring the wife. While this is going on the couples Mexican nanny (Adriana Barraza) takes the coupleâ(TM)s two children with her to Mexico for her sonâ(TM)s wedding when the couple cannot return do to the shooting. Finally we meet Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi), a deaf-mute Japanese school girl struggling with the suicide of her mom and a Dad she doesn't communicate well with.
This film suffers from the same thing that Crash did, so much going on and poorly done story telling. No character gets enough story time to make us actually care about them and in most cases they become annoying or give us no reason to sympathize with them. The characters are well acted but written as two dimensional figures portraying simple images. While each actor is very good they are never given enough to take their character from a bland image to a deep person.
The so called connections between each story is also supposed to be discovered by us slowly as the film goes on with Chieko's story leading to the final connection. The problem is within the first 15 minutes or so we know exactly how the couple, shepherd boy, and nanny fit together and in the next ten can simply deduce Chieko's role. It is a juvenile line played out quickly and ends the movie before we have a chance to care (not that we have anything to care about).
It is also like Crash in that in its attempt to get its point across hits us in the head with extremes instead of making us look at the true issues we each face. Alejandro GonzÃ¡lez IÃ±Ã¡rritu and Guillermo Arriaga wish for us to see different ways in which we fail at communication not just with language and strangers but in emotion with those close to us. This is a great goal but we don't really care about these people and can see clearly where they fail. We are given extremes and can walk away saying that I am glad I am not like that. The film makers could have served their goal better by clearly focusing on the family and how they may communicate well with others outside the family but cannot convey simple things to those they are closest to. True it isn't as dramatic as they may want or as artsy but would have been a lot better than the confused and shallow story they gave us.
I also have to mention the use of disgusting and useless sexual content in this film, which is done exclusively by the underage characters. One of the Shepard boys spies on his older sister while she changes and then we are treated to a scene of him masturbating while thinking about it. In an attempt to show that Chiekoâ(TM)s issues with her father is hurting her we get disgusting and useless scenes of her flashing her bare crotch to older boys, forcing her dentist to grab her crotch during an exam, striping completely naked for a total stranger forcing him to touch her breasts. The portion with the Shepard boy is useless and adds nothing to the story, but if it did it could have been handled in a more mature way. As for Chieko, while her actions are born from her pain the director preferred to treat us like idiots and show us everything instead of being creative with how they revealed these problems. These scenes which exclusively featured children were disgusting and seemed to feed a fetish not a story.
In all this film was not creative or insightful. In truth it is an exercise in cheap film making in an attempt to appear deep and forward thinking. There are better more intelligent ways to communicate everything this film desires to tell us but few in Hollywood are smart enough to do it.
Babel takes its theme as pride, arrogance, competition, selfishness, and the other side of humanity, subtle disposition of characters. The film was full of characters thanks to all actors and for non-English actors. If there is a film combines a variety of cultures and languages, I'll always try it at any time. It's not an English language that we need to understand, it's our feeling to understand what they want to convey. Into their own language, not only those who feel wrong or even the black sheep. Initially confusing but flattering each other into a truly intact movie. Far from other specials.
Watch this if you want to see how amazing the U.S. is and how bad the rest of the world is, give this a go.