Film Review: Babel (2006)

”One gunshot is heard across the world” 

Babel (2006) is one of those films I’ve seen a lot of advertising (posters etcetera) for yet knew nothing about. I was going to rent a film with my girlfriend, and finding nothing interesting we simply picked up ”Babel” – it is after all a well-criticized film so it can’t be all bad, can it?

Babel

The story of the film handles the events of an American couple on vacation in Morrocco, as a gunshot hits the wife (Susan, played by Cate Blanchett) in her neck. We follow the next five days of panic, as her husband (Richard, played by Brad Pitt) tries to save her life in a small village of the Morroccan desert. There are four main families we follow, in four different parts of the world; the couples Mexican maid Amelia and their two children whom she takes care of during their vacation; the two Morroccan boys who accidentally fires at Susan (”the American tourist”) while practicing shooting in the desert; and Chieko (played by Rinko Kikuchi), a deaf Japanese girl in troubles of fitting in and desperately finding a boyfriend in a world where she can’t understand anyone’s words.The film was really interesting and thrilling through almost the entire film, except some parts that felt like nothing but pathetic fillouts. One of the most interesting parts of watching it was trying to find out how the four families were connected, and it wasn’t until the end that Chieko’s life connected to the rest through her father, a Japanese hunter. The most interesting part was clearly Chieko’s to me, as I easily could understand her; being deaf is much worse in every way than merely not knowing the language; you have no possibility to learn it, and you obviously can’t except everyone to learn sign language.Before watching the film, I had never heard of anyone on the cast except Brad Pitt (playing Richard), a way overrated actor who did a very good job in the 1995 film Se7en, but since hasn’t done anything diversing him from 99 percent of the actors of our world. With this in mind, I can easily say that Babel is one of Brad Pitt’s best performances. I also loved the performance of Rinko Kikuchi (playing Chieko), but after checking her previous roles out I can in sadness say that Babel is an exception.One of the things I’ve heard of the film on forehand was the ”amazing” music, that actually – I’m sorry – sucked. Where did all the great, original film music go? Films used to be filled with great music! Just look at the 20th century up to 1980 or so. There are only a few good film composers left (who on the other hand are really great), for example Hans Zimmer and Alan Silvestri.I would call Babel a really overrated film, not deserving much of its positive critisism, but it’s still a nice film and I just couldn’t turn it off in the middle, simply because the ending was so unpredictable.

*****

five stars

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