I think he did it again, brilliantly. Alejandro Gonalez Inarritu, in his latest film Babel, successfully repeat the magic he showed in the two previous films, Amores Perros and 21 Grams. I came to the cinema without knowing what film we were going to watch, much less by whom the film was directed. Didn't even recognise the title, I was that far removed from the entertainment world lately. But 15 minutes into the film I recognised the unique style, and realised it was Alejandro's film.
Babel tells four different stories interwoven in a non-linear plot. The first is about an American couple, played by haggard-looking Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. They were on holiday in Morocco trying to patch their relationship when suddenly the wife got shot in the middle of nowhere and had to fight for her life. The second set of life story is about two young Moroccan boys growing up in the poor village, romping about on the parched hills herding goats and playing with a rifle gun which is about to tragically change their lifes forever. The third set is about a frustrated deaf and mute Japanese girl and her father. The fourth is about a Mexican lady, the nanny for the kids of the American couple, who wants to attend the wedding of her son in Mexico.
In his signature style Alejandro weaves the tragic stories of each of those people, who eventhough they live in different worlds somehow got connected through a rifle. These people never meet, although their life stories touch briefly. As usual, there's no antagonist and protagonists. Everyone's protagonist and everyone receive the viewer's sympathy.
Why it's called Babel I'm not sure. Maybe because it tells of difficulties in communication. Of different lifes separated by barriers of languange, culture, age. An echo of the biblical story about humans with boundless pride trying to build a tower to reach the Heaven. A feat which was scorned by God who then created different languages causing the humans to fail in their mission because of failure in communication.
Those who like action and fast movies won't like this film because it's rather slow. Those who like simple, straight plot will likewise hate this movie because this one requires us to think and connect the uniquely non-linear scenes. But don't think the film is not gripping.
Each of the characters somehow become attached to our hearts and we sympathise with them in their predicaments, hoping as the stories move that things won't get worse for them.
This is a film that's definitely worth to watch. Hey, it won the Golden Globe for best drama and it well deserves to win. Plus you can see Brad Pitt and Gael Garcia Bernal, though look-wise, they're not that great here :D
On a more personal note: for the last few days I've been down and sad and angry and disappointed because my brother made a stupid mistake and his future could be ruined because of that. I was angry at him for being stupid and at the world for punishing his stupidity too harshly. Then I watched this film and realised that he's not the only one in this world who makes mistakes with grave consequences. And as difficult as it is for him, the consequences he will have to bear are not as grave as the ones those characters have to bear. And I'm hoping that he will get a second chance, like some of the characters in the film did.
http://imdb.com/title/tt0449467/ IMDB Babel page
http://www.paramountvantage.com/babel/ official site of Babel
(picture above is courtesy of IMDB)