Babel is boldly directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu who directed Amores perros and 21 Grams. In this film, he showcases his refreshing technique once again with smooth story transitions and interesting camera pans. At first though it took me and my friends a few minutes to get caught up to speed with the story, while some aspects are not illuminated till three quarters into the film. I wish the film started with captions letting audiences know the locations they were seeing, instead of having to piece it together as it went along. The back and forth in time might be a bit confusing for some, but I appreciated the puzzle.
I was surprised though to see that Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett played some what minor roles in comparison to the other actors in the film. Their performances were good and their characters are important, but they were not the only ones. I was mainly impressed with all the child actors in the film and Kikiuchi’s soul-searching role as a brazen yet vulnerable coming-of-age deaf girl dealing with personal tragedy. In the final scene her emotional performance had me crying with empathy for her character.
Even though the film is 2 hour and 22 minutes long, the time went unnoticed by me since I eagerly awaited restitution and some closure for each storyline.
The Upside: A powerful and intelligent emotional roller coaster of a film.
The Downside: Some scenes are gorey and a bit gritty and raw.
On the Side: Rinko Kikuchi spent a year auditioning and learning sign language for her role.
Overall Grade: A-
Tara Settembre is a Senior Critic for Film School Rejects