Dec 27, 2006

Babel

With so much happening in the Music World of late I haven't had the chance to take in as many films as I usually do. But I commonly find that this time of year we are introduced to many fine films. One that has just opened and that I was excited to see was Babel. Fortunately I was not let down as this film managed to deliver on so many levels. If you have seen Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's two previous films "Amores Perros" and "21 Grams" and enjoyed them, as I did, then you should be able to find a lot to enjoy in "Babel." Telling four stories, that in the end intertwine, this is a beautifully filmed (Rodrigo Prieto) piece, finely acted by its ensemble cast. Filmed in 3 countries, Japan, Morocco and Mexico, we watch a deaf-mute Japanese girl struggling with her past, two young Moroccan boys whose actions have dangerous consequences, an American couple holidaying in Morocco that realise they need each more then they knew and a Mexican woman trying to do the right thing but endangering herself and the children she is caring for. I will not tell you more about the plot as it would spoil the experience of delving into these rich characters. But the thing I took most from the film was its theme of lack of communication. A lot of the characters in "Babel" seem to talk to each without listening, whether through different languages, inability to understand each others needs and motives or as in the simple case of "Chieko" a reality of being unable to speak. The cast is uniformly excellent and although Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are exemplary as the American couple it was some of the lesser actors who shone for me, especially Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barraza. This is a meaty film that requires your full attention, although a little slow in the middle section, it builds to a dramatic climax that will leave you feeling enriched and hopefully rewarded by the experience.

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