12.11.06

Babel


Comentario en The New York Times:

The splintered, jigsaw-puzzle structure of “Babel” will be familiar to viewers who have seen “Amores Perros” or “21 Grams,” the other two features Mr. Arriaga and Mr. González Iñárritu have made together. Indeed, this movie belongs to an increasingly common, as yet unnamed genre — “Crash” is perhaps the most prominent recent example — in which drama is created by the juxtaposition of distinct stories, rather than by the progress of a single narrative arc.

Perhaps the most common feature of movies of this kind is that they are more interested in fate than in psychology. The people in “Babel” behave irrationally — if often quite predictably — but any control they appear to have over their own lives is illusory. They suffer unequally and unfairly, paying disproportionately for their own mistakes and for the whims of chance and the laws of global capitalism.

In “Babel” there seems to be an active, palpable tension between the schematism of Mr. Arriaga’s scenario and the sensuality of Mr. González Iñárritu’s filmmaking. Some of the most exciting and powerful sequences — a Tokyo nightclub rave, the wedding of Amelia’s son — push beyond the constraints of the narrative and defy, at least for a time, the grim inevitability that hovers over the film.

The sheer sensory exuberance of the film at once subverts the fatalism of its story and lends it whatever credibility it has. On paper, very little of it makes sense, but what is on screen has an almost physical impact. In the end “Babel,” like that tower in the book of Genesis, is a grand wreck, an incomplete monument to its own limitless ambition. But it is there, on the landscape, a startling and imposing reality. It’s a folly, and also, perversely, a wonder.

“Babel” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It has strong language, nudity and intense violence.

BABEL

Opens today in New York.

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu; written (in English, Spanish, Japanese, Berber, Arabic and sign language, with English subtitles) by Guillermo Arriaga, based on an idea by Mr. González Iñárritu and Mr. Arriaga; director of photography, Rodrigo Prieto; edited by Stephen Mirrione and Douglas Crise; music by Gustavo Santaolalla; production designer, Brigitte Broch; produced by Mr. González Iñárritu, Jon Kilik and Steve Golin; released by Paramount Vantage. Running time: 143 minutes.

WITH: Brad Pitt (Richard), Cate Blanchett (Susan), Gael García Bernal (Santiago), Koji Yakusho (Yasujiro), Adriana Barraza (Amelia), Rinko Kikuchi (Chieko), Said Tarchani (Ahmed), Boubker Ait El Caid (Yussef), Mustapha Rachidi (Abdullah), Elle Fanning (Debbie), Nathan Gamble (Mike) and Mohamed Akhzam (Anwar).

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