“Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”
Re: Jim Ridley's negative review ofBabel.
Babel is quite intriguing, consisting of multiple storylines that are interwoven into one. Set in Morocco, California, Mexico, and Tokyo, interlinking events occur that affect the lives of different characters across time and continents. There are many supporting roles that play into the storylines, but the main characters include two Moroccan boys, their father, a Caucasian American couple, their two children, their Mexican nanny, a Japanese girl, and her father.
Each has a separate path and is faced with his/her own challenges. To varying degrees, there is a lack of awareness in regard to one another's situations. And yet there are shared underlying factors—family, love, sexuality, loss, suffering, isolation. Characters must explore their options and cope with their circumstances, whether in their home environments or not.
As foreshadowed by the Biblical title, lack of communication is abundant and leads to frustration and confusion. However, Babel does not restrict itself to foreign language barriers and cultural differences. It extends to lack of speech as well. A glimpse into the lives of deaf-mute characters gives additional perspective.
This film is a reminder that the world is a bigger place than the confines of our daily lives. One who is open-minded will recognize that it depicts certain truths about international relations and views. At the same time, it portrays the parallel emotions experienced by humankind, regardless of race, color, creed, gender. It should be viewed as a whole and not dissected with a jaded eye. Its fragmented cinematography serves to illustrate the various pieces that connect in the end, while emoting the unrest and tumult felt by the characters. Babel succeeds in its snapshot of scattered disparity, inequality, and similitude that make up the globe.
Got a beef with one of our film reviews (or anything else for that matter)? Use our Feedback feature to file your own counterpoints which, in the case of the film section, we'll link to from the original review.