Saturday, November 11, 2006

Babel Provokes Your Thoughts

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is my favorite working director today. I've now seen all of his work, and I formulated this opinion after seeing 21 Grams, one of my all time favorite films. So now that you know the bias this review might be written with- I beg you, continue reading, I'm not going to praise it JUST for Inarritu.

Babel is probably one of the most important films I've ever seen. Following the lives of several different individuals, all of different nationalities, the audience learns that coincidence may not always be as random as we assume. Following the route of a single rifle, the story tells the consequences of the language barrier- and it's ultimate message- to listen, is delivered in one of the most powerful trips to the cinema you're likely to have any time soon.

Following the same editing structure as 21 Grams, Inarritu starts his film out of sequence, making a puzzle of a film that his audience may piece together as the story progresses. Most of the time, I find this technique annoying and unnecessary, but Inarritu in all of his films, makes a pretty mesmerizing piece of work out of it. As the film progresses the individual stories start to fall into sequence. I would have enjoyed the film either way, but I assumed that since so much was going on in the story itself, Inarritu felt that he would help the audience out with the progressions just a little bit.

Atop the exceptional writing and directing, Babel will give you some of the best acting you'll ever see. Every actor on screen holds their own and has their individual moments to shine. Most people will probably go see this for Brad Pitt, and I'm not going to say that's wrong. This is easily one of his best roles, alongside 12 Monkeys and Fight Club. Gael Garcia Bernal also gives a pretty memorable performance- but so does Cate Blanchett, and each foreign actor that Inarritu has cast.

As far as the comparisons to Crash are concerned- they are angering me. Crash was overrated. This is not. Not to say that I didn't like Crash, but I certainly didn't find it to be the ground breaking, eye opening film that it seems many people did. I find Babel ground breaking and eye opening in all the ways that Crash wanted to be. Babel is one of the best films of the year, and I enjoyed it immensely. I hope that you do too.


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