The first film to arrive from LoveFilm from the recent additions, Babel has seen my List update shoot me in the foot, as Babel is quite a long film that I’ve seen twice before, once just before starting the List, and that to be in honest doesn’t live up to its potential.
We follow the lives of four groups of people, as their existences are disrupted by a single bullet. First, there’s the poverty-stricken goat herder and his two young, competitive sons who purchase a rifle to protect their flock from jackals. We also have a wealthy American couple (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, both excellent if trying a little too hard in largely thankless roles) as they bicker their way through a holiday in Morocco. An Hispanic maid is forced to take the two young children she cares for with her and her nephew (Gael Garcia Bernal) to Mexico for her son’s wedding, and the deaf/mute daughter of a successful Japanese businessman struggles to lose her virginity. The multicultural cast is good, especially Rinko Kikuchi as the Japanese girl, who carries most of her story arc single-handed, but there are several scenes that are very difficult to watch – the younger of the goat-herder’s sons masturbating within earshot of his brother, a disillusioned young boy witnesses the chicken he is about to eat slaughtered in front of him and a troubled teen coming on very strongly to her dentist.
The film is entirely humourless, with barely a smile to be seen either onscreen or off, and it lacks the finesse of director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores Perros. That, and the entire thing is thoroughly depressing, with only some interesting scenes – a nightclub seen from a deaf perspective – to pique the interest.
Choose life 6/10