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TOWERING BABEL?

by
in Filmmaking
on May 23, 2006


I took a pass on Cannes this year, so I’m here Stateside just like you guys — checking the internet sites a few times a day to see what’s hot. And it appears as if Alejando Gonzalez Innaritu’s Babel may be the film to beat for the Palme’ d’Or.

Here’s Jeffrey Welles: “It’s an incredibly shrewd and brilliant film about all of us…about frailty, interconnectedness, aloneness and particularly parents and children. It exudes compassion and acute precision with every frame, shot, edit and line of dialogue. I fucking loved it.”

And here’s Ray Bennett in The Hollywood Reporter:

“Tense, relentless and difficult to watch at times, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Babel is an emotionally shattering drama in which a simple act of kindness leads to events that pierce our veneer of civilization and bring on the white noise of terror.

Inarritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga involve six families, most of them not known to one another, in four countries on three continents in their story of random fate and the perils of being unable to communicate.

Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal give committed ensemble performances alongside seasoned character performers and non-actors as the story ranges from Morocco to San Diego to Tokyo.

The film, which also features exceptional work by director of photography Rodrigo Prieto, production designer Brigitte Broch, editors Stephen Mirrione and Douglas Crise, and composer Gustavo Santaolalla, is headed for major prizes and large, appreciative audiences.

And, finally, here’s Todd McCarthy in Variety:

Effectively building dread and emotional tension as tragic incidents triggered by human stupidity and carelessness steadily multiply, this film, like 21 Grams in particular, employs a deterministically grim mindset in the cause of its philosophical aspirations, but is gripping nearly all the way. Critical reactions will no doubt range fully across the map, much as they did with Crash, which Paramount Vantage should be able to stir to its advantage in creating significant curiosity among American auds craving serious fare, and strong points of identification create real cross-over potential. International prospects are similarly promising.

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