Bridges to Babylon
Release Date: October 27, 2006
Runtime: 142 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Vantage
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Executive Producer: None
Writer: Guillermo Arriaga
Address Comments To:John Lesher
A Division of Paramount Pictures
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Los Angeles, CA 90038
Phone: (323) 956-2000
Fax: (323) 862-1212
The movie begins in Morocco, where a poor farmer is gives a hunting rifle to his young sons to scare off animals that have been attacking their herd. The boys are careless with the gun, and accidentally shoot a tour bus on the highway in the distance, where they unknowingly strike American tourist Susan (Cate Blanchett), who is traveling with her husband Richard (Brad Pitt). Meanwhile, Richard and Susan’s two children are being watched in their California home by their housekeeper Amelia (Adriana Barraza), who takes the children with her to Tijuana for her son’s wedding. The movie also tells the story of Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi), a mute teenage girl in Tokyo whose frustrations with her mother’s suicide and inability to communicate well have caused her to act out in a variety of ways and become distant with her father.
Much like 2005’s Oscar-winning CRASH, BABEL’s narrative connects the actions of several unlikely individuals (in this case, characters all over the world) and shows how the consequences of our bad choices can have a ripple effect on others. Although perhaps unintentional, the movie does a fantastic job of revealing the universal state of humanity. We are flawed by our imperfections and mistakes, and our sins have far-reaching effects. Likewise, despite cultural or geographical differences, we all yearn for and are in need of redemption. BABEL is a profound and moving picture that takes an honest look at this ugliness and helplessness of the human condition.
BABEL also touches on a number of hotbed political issues, yet fortunately refrains from being a political movie. The movie’s different narratives involve topics such as illegal immigration in the U.S., America’s war on terrorism and gun-control, and the message could easily drift into the tiresome, preachy world of political correctness. Instead of throwing political rocks, however, it stays on course with a sobering, honest and compassionate statement about human nature.
Unfortunately, BABEL is also excessive in many ways. A brief masturbation scene of a pre-adolescent boy is repugnant, as are the several scenes of extensive nudity the movie contains. The large amount of foul language is unacceptable and unneeded, and the movie is too violent. Finally, at 142 minutes, BABEL is simply too long.
Ultimately, BABEL is a well-crafted, well-acted drama with a strong biblical worldview and profound message. With a number of major content problems, however, MOVIEGUIDE® rates BABEL as excessive.
Much like 2005’s CRASH, BABEL’s narrative connects the actions of several unlikely individuals and shows how the consequences of bad choices can have a ripple effect on others. BABEL also touches on a number of hotbed political issues, yet refrains from being a political movie. The movie’s different narratives involve topics such as illegal immigration in the U.S., America’s war on terrorism and gun-control, and the message could easily drift into political correctness, but stays on course with a sobering, honest and compassionate statement about human nature. Ultimately, BABEL is a well-crafted, well-acted drama with a strong biblical worldview and profound message. Regrettably, however, the movie has excessive foul language, violence, nudity, and some gratuitous sexual content.