Review: Babel (2006)

Brad Pitt in Babel

As the third film in director Alejandro González Iñárritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga’s “Death” trilogy, Babel is as powerful, riveting, and intriguing as Amores Perros and 21 Grams. Similar to its counterparts, Babel is a complex, multinarrative drama that centers around one moment that leads to a collision of four separate groups on three continents.

The film begins as two teenage boys (played by the local non-professional actors Boubker Ait El Caid and Said Tarchini) are seen running through an isolated region of Morocco. From their father, they receive a Winchester rifle in order to protect the family’s goat herd from jackels. One day while tending the herd, the boys take practice shots at passing vehicles.

Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett portray an American couple, Richard and Susan Jones, whose marriage has reached a breaking point. While vacationing in Morocco, their lives are changed in one instant. Instead of fighting for their marriage, they must now fight to save their lives.

In parallel scenes, the Jones’ two children are being watched by their Mexican nanny, Amelia (Adriana Barraza) in San Diego. When the Jones’ cannot return home as planned, Amelia makes a crucial decision to take the children with her to her son’s wedding in Mexico. All is well until Santiago (Gael Garcia Bernal), Amelia’s nephew, panics when he is questioned at the border.

The last story is set in Japan. Chieko is the rebellious, deaf-mute daughter of a Japanese businessman and game hunter. Still reeling from her mother’s suicide, she demonstrates a sexually promiscuous nature. A police officer investigating her father, takes pity on the troubled teen.

These four very different but equally provactive stories, fit together as the foundation for Babel‘s intelligently crafted and beautifully formulated elements. Specific scenes such as Chieko, dancing at a night club and Santiago, driving through the night, demonstrate the highly creative and impactful filmmaking of director Iñárritu.

While Babel‘s ensemble cast is superb, Cate Blanchett, Adriana Barraza, Gael García Bernal, and Brad Pitt are stand-outs as they deliver heartbreaking and captivating performances.

After receiving multiple awards at the Cannes Film Festival (Best Director and the François Chalais Award) Babel, is an early Oscar contender. For it’s powerful direction, stunning narrative, and exceptional performances, Babel is sure to collect plenty of nominations throughout the season.

As of this moment, Babel is one of best releases of the year, but who knows what could come along. Just remember Million Dollar Baby and Brokeback Mountain.

Updated October 12, 2010

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Mission Impossible Shake-Up

You know, I’m starting to feel a little sorry for Tom Cruise. Lately it seems as though we’re slowly watching the collapse of a superstar. It’s kind of depressing.

First Mission Impossbile III tanks at the box office, he gets fired from Paramount, and of course, there’s the whole Suri Cruise debacle.

Then this happens:

Brad Pitted Against Cruise in ‘M:I’ Shake-Up
By WENN Wednesday, September 20, 2006 [SOURCE]

HOLLYWOOD – Brad Pitt has been tipped to reverse the Mission: Impossible franchise’s struggling fortunes by replacing Tom Cruise in the fourth installment.

Cruise, who played agent Ethan Hunt in the action movies, was axed by Paramount Studios last month following Mission: Impossible III‘s poor box office takings and his “unacceptable conduct” off screen.

Now Fight Club star Pitt is being hailed as a potential savior, despite the fact he recently voiced his aversion to superstar roles, insisting, “Being a part of an ensemble is always more fun, you don’t have to carry the film.”

An industry insider tells Britain’s London Lite evening newspaper, “Mission: Impossible IV will not include Tom‘s character, agent Ethan Hunt.

They’re considering a brief mention, saying Hunt retired to live a safe life with his new wife.

They’re set on Brad taking over as a gutsy new head operative who puts together his own unique team of specialists.” Studios bosses will reportedly offer over $52 million for Pitt to star in the film, the single biggest wage ever paid to an actor for one film.
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See, poor Tom Cruise. How will he ever survive?

Do Scientologists have a God? If so, Tom Cruise should really hit him up for some advice. (And I say him because no female would ever be the God of Scientology.)

While I Was Gone

I’ve returned from my week long vacation in the Catskills and I am sad to report that it was not a Dirty Dancing-esque summer. One day it will happen I swear. In other news, after being completely isolated from any celebrity news or movie watching for one week, I had a few shocks when I returned to NJ.

1. Brad and Jen are finalizing their divorce. I, like any other stalkerazzi in training (SIT?), wonder when Brangelina will come out as an item. I mean they were spotted in Canada at some dinosaur museum.

2. Chelsea is really Georgia. (That’s Days of Our Lives reference.)

3. Hillary Duff’s greatest hits album, “Most Wanted” is number one on the Billboard charts. I’m by far not the biggest music buff in the world but even I know that is wrong on so many levels

4. Brock Peters, who played Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird and starred in other great movies such as Carmen and Porgy and Bess, passed away on August 23. He was also a huge part of the sci-fi genre, with roles in Star Trek and the voice of Darth Vader on NPR. Peters was an important actor who most people probably haven’t heard of or know of his work beyond TKAM. (It’s a shame how that happens). I think his death is far more important than the three items I listed before.