Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is probably one of the most well-regarded directors you’ve never heard of. After a pair of successful films in his native Mexico, he finally broke into the American mainstream with Babel, yet another film that deals with several loosely-related stories connected by the tiniest of threads; in this case, the stories all revolve around a gun – who owns the gun, who they sell it to, and what happens as a result of its usage. Even with the already tenuous connection between the stories, which range in location from Mexico to Morocco to Japan, there really isn’t much substance to what happens in each; it seems the filmmakers merely decided they wanted to tell a story, found a theme, and then arbitrarily filled in the plot as they saw fit.
The direction, at the very least, was solid; Inarritu has an eye and an ear for personal drama, in settings we probably wouldn’t have considered before, and throughout everything that happens he keeps the film rooted in this. I’ll say this for the film: it must have been a chore to edit, and in this regard the film is very well done for all the material it has to handle. The film often drops its sound design and lets the moody music take over the direction of a scene, which I found memorable, but without much of a purpose when it does happen, other than to increase the dramatic feel. Really, I’d summarize Babel much like that, a well done film that despite its advantages never really seems to have a point or a direction.
I’d heard much about this film before finally seeing it, and now that I have, I don’t really know why I did; there was never any real weight behind anything, it was just there for the sake of existing. Sure, it was very personable and affecting, but I just couldn’t find a motive for anything that was happening. This got culled from the must see list after being added, and I can agree with that decision; this isn’t a must see before you die, even if it is a well done film. I’m not even sure I would say this was worth the watch; I felt that I was watching it, but never got to any deeper level than that. Your experience may vary, but mine was very superficial, and it’s one I don’t expect to take again anytime in the future.
Arbitrary Rating: 6/10