Academy Awards 2006 -
Best Original Score: Gustavo Santaolalla
Box Office - 07/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "There's a dizzying array of faces, languages and imagery that sears into your soul."
Rolling Stone - 09/07/2006
"Inarritu and his superb cast use provocation and feeling to build something tentatively hopeful out of the rubble. This is a film to take to heart."
New York Times - 10/27/2006
"BABEL is certainly an experience....The sheer reckless ardor of Mr. Gonzalez Inarritu's filmmaking -- the voracious close-ups, the sweeping landscape shots, the swiveling, hurtling camera movements -- suggests a virtually limitless confidence in the power of the medium..."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/03/2006
"BABEL looks beautiful, never more so than when BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto captures locals at ease among themselves." -- Grade: B-
Rolling Stone - 11/02/2006 4 stars out of 4 -- "In the year's richest, most complex and ultimately most heartbreaking film, Inarritu invites us to get past the babble of modern civilization and start listening to each other."
Total Film - 02/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "Each piece in the puzzle unfolds at a thrilling velocity, events spiralling out of control in a whirlwind of rash judgements, linguistic barriers and sheer bad luck."
Rolling Stone - 12/28/2006 Ranked #5 in Rolling Stone's "The 10 Best Movies Of 2006" -- "[A]s the film builds to a shattering climax, you'll be in an emotional grip that won't let go."
Uncut - 02/01/2007 5 stars out of 5 -- "The stories gradually gather urgency, heat and pain....In a soundbite century, it stares tragedy in the eye, scrapes away the mindless babble."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - 11/01/2006
"[H]ypnotic....We come away from this film consumed with a sense of sorrow over innocence betrayed and reminded of the double standard of justice in our polarized world."
Ultimate DVD - 03/01/2007 5 stars out of 5 -- "It's an intense experience, defined by a simmering sense of dread..."
BABEL is the crowning achievement in the trilogy from the unstoppable creative pairing of screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga and director Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, which also includes AMORES PERROS (2000) and 21 GRAMS (2003). Building upon its predecessors' method of weaving together disparate storylines, BABEL reaches new heights of ambition with a tale that, in the absence of traditional narrative and protagonist, relies on numerous incredible performances to evoke an affecting relevance by framing contemporary issues in very human struggles and mistakes. Richard and Susan (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett) are a wealthy couple from San Diego who are vacationing in Morocco in order to heal after the death of their young child; their other two children are at home with their Mexican maid, Amelia (Adriana Barraza). In a complex shift of ownership to which the audience is privy, a rifle finds its way into the hands of a local herdsman's young sons (Said Tarchani and Boubker Ait El Caid), who recklessly take a shot at a tour bus and catch Susan in the shoulder, causing her to nearly lose her life. The distraught Richard calls home to tell Amelia of the situation, who promptly departs for Mexico to attend her child's wedding, with Richard and Susan's children in tow. Disaster thus multiplies, with the situation in Morocco ascribed to terrorists in the media, while Amelia meets with the harsh immigration policies of the Bush administration. Meanwhile, in Tokyo, a widower (Koji Yakusho) tied to the rifle in question attempts to deal with his memories and his raucous, promiscuous, deaf daughter (Rinko Kikuchi).
Nearly every performance of the film is devastating, offering an intimate, emotional experience that would approach melodrama if it weren't rendered so realistically. Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto's color palette masterfully captures the muted tones of the harsh natural landscapes of Morocco and the Mexican border, as well as the fluorescent lights of Tokyo that denote another, though equally barren, end of the spectrum. The misunderstandings born of cultural, language, and class barriers are on par with those that occur between family members, depicting a world that, while connected in the least expected of ways, is also faced with a deep-seated crisis that threatens to alienate humanity from itself.
Theatrical Release |