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Friday, December 22, 2006

Babel (**1/2)

I might have been inclined to put Babel would have been one of the best pictures of the year if it didn't overstay its welcome. The last half hour or so was a grueling excerise in audience frustration. Babel is a movie about people who made bad choice after terrible choice and suffered the compounding consequences. It's beautifully shot, amazingly acted, and powerful but after a while, the endless misery got to be too much. Of the three main storythreads, including Brad Pitt caring for his wife Cate Blanchett who was shot in Morocco and their children being taken to Mexico by their nanny and almost killed in a ridiculous series of events, the most intriguing by far was the tale of the deaf-mute Japanese girl who is desperate for sexual contact. Rinko Kikushi gets my vote for Best Supporting Actress. For the first time ever, thanks to Babel, we the audience can experience what it feels like to be a deaf-mute teenage Japanese girl living in Tokyo. It's a hell of a lot more compelling than the life of a Morrocan shepherd or a dumbass Mexican illegal alien who's a nanny to two rich white kids.