Puzzle master Arriaga may be the Will Shortz of globalized hand-wringing, but the by-now-predictable jigsawing of his scripts reeks of desperation.
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I might buy Babel if it had any real interest in its characters, but it's too busy moving them around its mechanistic chessboard to explore any nuances or depths.
Babel is an infuriatingly well-made disaster.
In their last collaboration, "21 Grams," the director Alejandro González Iñárritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga did syntactical acrobatics to disguise what a dreary and exploitive little soap opera they’d made. Their new movie, Babel, is more mysterious and less coherent.
Its complex (yet not mystifying) storytelling, forceful character development, and superb cinematography make this a candidate for one of 2006's best offerings.
Measured in anything other than biblical cubits, the sum of Babel's many parts turns out to be a picture that suggests Americans ought to stay home and treat their nannies better.
In the year's richest, most complex and ultimately most heartbreaking film, Inarritu invites us to get past the babble of modern civilization and start listening to each other.
The filmmakers succeed brilliantly in weaving these stories together, taking time to explore depth of character and relationships. The suspense builds throughout as everyone involved becomes lost in a place they don't understand with people they don't know if they can trust.
Babel is a movie that leaves you feeling limp and wrung out, but mysteriously moved by its vivid human encounters with the hot, tightly wired, chancy and coincidental world, ever capable of terrorizing us when we least expect it.
Effectively building dread and emotional tension as tragic incidents triggered by human stupidity and carelessness steadily multiply, this film, like "21 Grams" in particular, employs a deterministically grim mindset in the cause of its philosophical aspirations, but is gripping nearly all the way.