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Babel (HD DVD, 2007)
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Babel (HD DVD, 2007)

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt | Theatrical release: 2006 | Rating: R (MPAA)
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Movie synopsis
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.

Product Details
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Rating: R (MPAA)
  • Film Country: USA
  • UPC: 097361222240

Additional Details
Genre:Dramas
Format:HD DVD

eBay Product ID: EPID57660023

Editorial reviews

4 stars out of 5 -- "There's a dizzying array of faces, languages and imagery that sears into your soul."
Box Office - Richard Mowe (07/01/2006)

"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."
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers (09/07/2006)

"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..."
New York Times - A. O. Scott (10/27/2006)

"BABEL looks beautiful, never more so than when BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto captures locals at ease among themselves." -- Grade: B-
Entertainment Weekly - Lisa Schwarzbaum (11/03/2006)

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."
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers (11/02/2006)

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."
Total Film - Neil Smith (02/01/2007)

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."
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers (12/28/2006)

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."
Uncut - Chris Roberts (02/01/2007)

"[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."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - Stephen Farber (11/01/2006)

5 stars out of 5 -- "It's an intense experience, defined by a simmering sense of dread..."
Ultimate DVD - David Richardson (03/01/2007)

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Customer Reviews

Average review score based on 75 user reviews

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Created: 03/20/07

this is a nice movie and a must buy

Review For: Babel (HD DVD, 2007)

This is one of the best movie i have ever Sean i a long time this is a must see i give it 10/10

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 03/28/07

LOST AT SEA

Review For: Babel (DVD, 2007)

Babel is a sprawling epic with several seemingly unrelated stories at its center, with interplay in language (including Spanish, Arabic, English, Japanese, and International Sign Language) within each creating breakdowns in communication as the title suggests.

1. Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are husband and wife vacationing in Morrocco, trying to patch up their marriage after the death of one of their children
2. The couple's nanny, unable to find a replacement sitter to care for the kids while she attends her son's wedding in Mexico, decides to take them with her.
3. A pair of young Moroccan brothers are given a high-powered rifle by their father to shoot jackals while they herd the family goats.
4. A deaf mute Japanese teenager struggles to come to terms with the internal pain caused by her mother's suicide, as well as her blossoming sexuality while encountering rejection at increasingly inappropriate proposals.

The movie is a dread and anxiety-riddled ride through humanity's stupid decisions, bad luck, carelessness, misunderstandings, and frustrations that lead to life-threatening situations. The stories strands are intercut and spread out across three continents, attempting to pinpoint the woes facing modern humanity and making an overstatement about how we're all connected despite divisions of geography, language, and culture. However, the results are so anxiety trodden and grim that the point seems lost at sea by the movie's end. Each story strand was dragged out to the extreme, laden with such apprehension that the viewer can only assume the worst in each unfolding situation. The tension was not based on the unexpectedness of each outcome but with this interminable stretching of both the story and the viewer's limits. It is this grim uncertainty that so many reviewers celebrate, that there is no tidying up the various stories in a comforting conclusion. Yes, it's interesting but only to a point. There is just too much babbling. The pacing in each story was too choppy at intervals, with unnecessary spectacles that induced boredom. (Several times I was tempted to just shut it off and watch "That 70's Show" reruns.) Given the huge build-up, rave reviews, and my own impression that here was a movie that was going to give me something to think about, I was totally disappointed in this film. The only pros that I could come away with were the perfomances, including Mohamed Akhzam as Anwar, the tour group translater who all but carries the American couple through their harrowing experience, and Santiago (Gael Garcia Bernal) as Amelia's nephew. There is no denying the ambition or scope of Babel; there's just something missing in the few hours of this film that reduces it from "great" to just "interesting".

PROS - Stellar cast with solid, believable performances; interesting concept.

CONS - Underlying theme lost in scope of film; patchy splicing; choppy pace; scenes needs ambitious editing.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 03/06/07

Babel is Baffling. Our Planet is So Detached !

Review For: Babel (DVD, 2007)

Babel is the story of 4 ministories sewn together by a rifle.

Story #1 is the story of two brothers and their father in Morocco who buy the rifle from a neighbor. The father tells the boys to shoot the gun at an enemy animal of their goat herd. But the boys test the gun by shooting at a distant tour bus. They later pay dearly for the crime. The result is Story #2

Story #2 has Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett traveling in Morocco on the tour bus hoping to mend the marriage after the death of one of their children. The bullet punctures Cate Blanchett's neck, and she bleeds profusely. The rest of this story involves Brad Pitt's desperate attempt to save his wife. Finally, her neck is stitched up by a veterinarian. I won't tell you whether she lives or dies. During this story, Brad Pitt calls the nanny of his other two children. Here is the third story.

Story #3 takes place in San Diego, where an illegal Mexican woman is the nanny for Brad's and Cate's other two elementary school children--a boy and a girl. She was supposed to get off work to go to her son's wedding in Mexico, but now with the accident in Morocco, she is forced to take the children to the wedding. Everything is fine until they make the return journey. Her nephew has had too much to drink at the wedding, and he gets in an argument with the border patrol. What happens next is as tragic as Cate Blanchett's shooting.

Story #4 takes place in Japan with a deaf mute teenage girl wanting to lose her virginity. She tries with the dentist,some strange boys, and a police officer. This story seems to be totally independent of the others, but it is tied together by her father, who mentions that he gave the rifle to his hunting buddy in Morocco. This is the most unsatisfying story because you never find out whether the girl killed her mother or whether it was truly a suicide. Nevertheless, the girl was affected badly by it. This story ends with her in the nude hugging her father.

This movie produced 3 Academy Award nominations in the Best Supporting Actress category--Cate Blanchett, Gael Garccia Bernal (the Mexican nanny), and Rinko Kikuchi (the Japanese girl). None won.

This movie was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. It did not win.

The movie has been compared to Crash from 2005, but it is consider the third in a trilogy by its director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. The other two movies are Amores Perros and 2l Grams. I don't know about the first movie, but 21 Grams was very disappointing to me.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 10/01/07

Babel

Review For: Babel (DVD, 2007)

"Babel" (Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett) is a thundering steam roller that left me emotionally drained and unable to clear certain images from my head. Pitt drops his superstar persona as a husband whose wife is senselessly shot by a Berber child in Morocco. The shooting sets loose a wave of calamitous miscommunication involving a Mexican illegal employed as a nanny in San Diego, her hotheaded nephew, and a deaf, sex-crazed Japanese girl.

The director, Alejandro Gonsalez Inarritu ("Amore Perros"), cross-cuts between three interlinked stories,told in four languages, and freighted with an excrutiating cargo of human misery. Inarritu carpet bombs the viewer with grisly, disorienting imagery, notably in a sequence in a Tokyo nightclub where whacked-out teens boogie in a hallucinatory hell of pulsing strobes, deafening music, and a nightmarish light show (project it on a Imax screen and chances are it would induce a seizure or two in the audience).

Though "Babel" runs 2 1/2 hours, Inarritu's pacing is matchless; never did I feel that any sequence overstayed its welcome. The astounding thing about the movie is how the director succeeds in using cruelty and ugliness to create a terrible beauty. Wolves gorging on a kill do not a pretty sight make, but nonetheless they display a natural, rightful magnificence that transcends our conception of good and evil.

Violence in so many movies is banal, meant to titillate 19-year-olds who can't string three sentences together. Violence in Inarritu's films is never gratuitous, but rather works as a reality check. "Babel" upends several cherished notions about the nature and power of coincidence, globalization,
cross-cultural communication, and cause-and-effect explanations of events.
Buckle your seatbelt. You're in for a bumpy ride with this film.

Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 03/05/07

Babel

Review For: Babel (DVD, 2007)

Alejandro González Iñárritu's direction is brilliantly layered and intricately woven. He deftly uses different film stock, imagery, sound, and stories to weave a single tale out of four disparate ones, a talent he's shown in other films.

The story by screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga and Iñárritu has one incident ricochet around the globe, and peeling back the layers of culture to show the frustrating inability to communicate, and the poignancy and universality of familial love.

Each story is complete, but a series of snapshots that leave as many questions as answers. As the stories unfold, the backstories and the futures of the characters are chock full of possibility and pain. As one commenter during the Q&A said, it was frustratingly beautiful. Each storyline deals with family and conflict from the inability to communicate or to understand.

All the performances are incredible, and very touching. Brad Pitt did an excellent job, and the always outstanding Cate Blanchett, a powerhouse actor if there ever was one, has the least screen time of any of the leads. Few can do so much with so little. But the really outstanding performance is Rinko Kikuchi as a deaf-mute Tokyo teen.

To say any more would possibly lesson the experience, so let me just say this: it may seem confusing at times, but by the end, it will seem like poetry.
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6 of 10 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

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