Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I finally watched Babel last night. I enjoyed the movie but there were some shortcomings as well. Babel has some beautiful camera angles, excellent writing, deep themes, inter-woven plot and superb acting. However, the movie sometimes goes too far, stretching both the bounds of believability, slipping into confusing sequences at times and muddling a good plot with veiled political commentary.
I will start with my last statement first, to be fair. This movie did not necessarily set out to make any political statements. They are craftily interwoven into the story. I found myself thinking "man, this movie is a bit Anti-American." I felt that they portrayed our Border Patrol as a bit overzealous and our State Department as a mindless muddled mess that can't even get a helicopter to an injured American in a foreign country. There also seemed to be some anti-gun sentiment peppered in. Maybe I was oversensitive when watching this movie, but I don't like movies that simplify issues to the point where America is made to look the fool. I guess I'm old-school when it comes to that.
Babel was conceptually intricate, bouncing between three interwoven tales that take place in an Arabic Country, Japan and along the United States/Mexican Border. The movie covers a series of events (out of sequence) involving two boys who fire a rifle into a tour bus and how those events are related to events in other parts of the world. One of the major themes of this movie involves communication and how miscommunication can affect people. There are many opportunities where language (and sign language) barriers create or exacerbate problems. This movie also touches lightly on misinterpretation of events by Government as opposed to taking a strictly interpersonal approach to the issue. I like the bigger concept, but thought it was one-dimensional, because of the political statement that arises out of that miscommunication.
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