Saturday, July 7, 2007

Babel (2006)

Starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barraza.

Babel is a powerful, wrenching, and sad meditation on the interconnectedness of a group of people scattered across the world. Something ties all the characters together; gradually we understand what it is.

The movie centers around a married couple (Brad Pitt & Cate Blanchett) touring Morocco on a bus. While the bus traverses a remote mountainside, a bullet suddenly hits the bus and wounds Blanchett. Pitt has the bus pull over in a nearby village. Blanchett is in jeopardy, there’s no hospital close by, and Pitt is in a panic. Both Pitt and Blanchett are affecting in this film.

Meanwhile, a kindly Mexican nanny/housekeeper (Adriana Barraza) is caring for two kids in San Diego. She’s torn, though; her son is getting married in a nearby town in Mexico. She tries urgently to find someone to care for her charges so that she can attend the wedding. Barraza is outstanding in this movie; we experience her gradually increasing desperation as events unfold.
In another segment, a father purchases a gun so that his two young sons can kill the jackals that prey on their goats as they graze near their village.

Finally, we follow a deaf/mute adolescent Japanese girl (Rinko Kikuchi) having a very unhappy day. Kikuchi delivers a powerful and wrenching performance. It makes me afraid for every father of every adolescent girl.The movie segues between these stories, gradually filling in our knowledge of each set of characters. The movie lingers in ones mind after it ends. We can only hope that not every interconnection among widely dispersed people across the world contain such elements of tragedy and misfortune.