Wednesday, February 1, 2012

100 Movies - No. 10: Babel

10. Babel (2006)
Drama, 143 minutes
Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Rinko Kikuchi

Nominated for seven Oscars and winning for best score, Babel is a sprawling tale of how a gun links four separate groups of people. Pitt and Blanchett are the focus of one of the stories, but the other three are probably more compelling.

The film will take you to Morocco, the US, Mexico and Japan. It deals with themes such as love, loneliness, adolescence, the law, and kindness. It amazes me how people who have almost nothing will still give you something.

The appeal of Babel for me is the way in which Inarritu weaves the complex threads together to create a believable and enthralling story. Many of the actors were unknown to me, but I wasn't disappointed with any of the performances. It's hard to watch this film and not be moved emotionally by at least one of the stories; I was moved by all four.

If you like Babel:

Inarritu likes to take seemingly random story threads and weave them together. Another example is 21 Grams, starring Naomi Watts, Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro. His films are not easy to watch, but if you are patient and can handle sorrow, the payoff can be rewarding.

Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia is another intricate story consisting of many threads and that's also worth your time. Perhaps one of the most obscure using the same technique is Mother and Child. Inarritu was an Executive Producer and I noticed hints of his style throughout the film.

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  1. Completely agree with all you state. I have to wind up to watch these types of films but love them when mind and mood are up to it. babel is beautifully written and perhaps the reason it works so well is what you mention of no one "star" taking a lead. Story rules here.

    Nicely done is a short span!


  2. Thanks. I started the 100 movies series with the aim of keeping things short. I wanted to make sure I did one every day. As things progressed, they ended up being much longer.