Sunday, January 07, 2007


Babel : The problem of (mis)communication

Cast: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett

Direction: Alejandro González Iñárritu


Already touted as one of the top picks of this year, the movie is about a biblical fable about humans being unable to build the tower of ‘
’ because of communication problems between people due to differing languages.

In the modern day Babel, the problem arises when a touring couple Pitt and Blanchett try to battle it out in interior
after kids trying out a weapon shoot the woman. That is the beginning of the complex tale of different families across different continents all that are related in some way to the bullet shot.

There is the tale of the illegal immigrant Mexican caretaker of the couple’s kids, who goes to attend a wedding in , gets into a tangle and loses almost everything that she has.

There is the Japanese father, who sold the gun in
to a guide and who is being questioned in relation to his wife’s suicide. His sex-starved deaf-mute daughter represents the people who are actually mute, while the rest of the movie is about people who can hear and speak but refuse to do either.

There is the Moroccan father who sees his rustic life coming apart after learning about the actions of his kids, but still tries to save them.

There is the Moroccan guide who shares what he has to help the American’s. The cynical tourist group shows how vulnerable western nationals feel in alien societies.

But the most important character in the story is definitely Alejandro and his direction. The movie is an assault on the eyes and you are transported instantly across , US, ,
seamlessly. The nuances of each society are given enough screen space for the viewer to appreciate and hence understand how bad things could go. And the world view of the deaf-mute, her perception of silence in a disc and here silent world in the midst of everything is spectacular.

The shooting blamed on terrorists and you have the judgment pronounced without even the chance of a trial. (The Moroccan officer stands out) The immigration officials refusal to understand the plight of the Mexican woman who has carved out a life for herself is stark while the media’s reaction gives you a chilling idea of what is possible in a world where you do not understand your surroundings.

The acting is good throughout, with the Japanese girl and her father exceptional. Pitt and Blanchett had no option but to look good, but the director has chosen his cast amazingly well. ( You could recall Che from Motorcycle diaries as
Santiago here J) . The characters and some scenes are bit too graphic and sometimes unnecessary (the cut chicken, the peeing-love scene, the naked Japanese girl), but they end up making you appreciate the vibrant nature of the surroundings. A little bit too long at 142 min.

Rating: 7.8/10

No comments: