Tuesday, 7 November 2006
Babel - Book of Bad Choices
Screened (that’s what we film critics call getting into a movie in advance for free) Babel last night. It is this year’s Crash. That is, we’re all interconnected and we’re all suffering. (Actually, you could read it as a book of bad choices people make.)

Afterwards another critic waxed enthusiastically upon how this movie, like Crash, proves that we’re all really the same, no matter country, culture or skin color.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he had just acquiesced to that manipulation by the filmmaker. Yes, of course, we can all recite the Shylock soliloquy, “if you prick me, do I not bleed . . .” but here we have a director creating a story to persuade others that there are no significant differences between people or peoples. (Life sucks for everyone.)

Later, while exiting the parking garage, the same critic got in front of me in his car and his bumper was adorned with stickers: IMPEACH BUSH and IMPEACHMENT IS PATRIOTIC

Of course he needs movies to tell him he’s been right all along. See! See! This movie shows exactly how we can all just get along if we want to since we’re really all the same!

I suppose we all do that when we read a book or see a movie which confirms our world view, but two thirds of Babel takes place in third world countries, Morocco and Mexico. The movie couldn’t help but make me wonder why those countries were so absurdly and abjectly dirty, barren, miserable, impoverished, corrupt, and horrible. (Mexico not quite as much as the other.)

The movie is well made and engaging, but ultimately empty and depressing. Oddly enough, the director has a dedication at the end to his children who provide him with the only “light amidst all the darkness.”

Well, gee, director Mr. Inarritu, thanks for relieving the gloom. Well, it's another movie no one will go see, at least.
Posted on 11/07/2006 1:54 PM by Mark Butterworth
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