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Babel (2006)

 -  Drama  -  10 November 2006 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 206,914 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 897 user | 286 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

Tragedy strikes a married couple on vacation in the Moroccan desert, touching off an interlocking story involving four different families.

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Title: Babel (2006)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 44 wins & 96 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Mohamed Akhzam ...
...
Tom
...
Trevor Martin ...
Matyelok Gibbs ...
Georges Bousquet ...
Claudine Acs ...
André Oumansky ...
...
...
Wendy Nottingham ...
Tourist #1
Henry Maratray ...
Tourist #2
Linda Broughton ...
Tourist #3
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Storyline

4 interlocking stories all connected by a single gun all converge at the end and reveal a complex and tragic story of the lives of humanity around the world and how we truly aren't all that different. In Morocco, a troubled married couple are on vacation trying to work out their differences. Meanwhile, a Moroccan herder buys a rifle for his sons so they can keep the jackals away from his herd. A girl in Japan dealing with rejection, the death of her mother, the emotional distance of her father, her own self-consciousness, and a disability among many other issues, deals with modern life in the enormous metropolis of Tokyo, Japan. Then, on the opposite side of the world the married couple's Mexican nanny takes the couple's 2 children with her to her son's wedding in Mexico, only to come into trouble on the return trip. Combined, it provides a powerful story and an equally powerful looking glass into the lives of seemingly random people around the world and it shows just how connected we... Written by Mac

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

children | rifle | mexican | wedding | mexico | See more »

Taglines:

If You Want to be Understood...Listen See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, some graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Release Date:

10 November 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ba'vel  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£592,387 (UK) (19 January 2007)

Gross:

$34,300,771 (USA) (23 March 2007)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director of photography Rodrigo Prieto encountered a problem while filming a track shot where Richard and the villagers carry the wounded Susan to the top of a steep hill: he tried running backwards to get the shot, but each time he tripped, often falling. However, director Alejandro González Iñárritu ruled out using a Steadicam and insisted on hand-held camera work. Finally, key grip Joseph Dianda came up with a solution: Prieto filmed the shot while seated in a hotel chair carried by four grips. The resulting footage became known to crew members as "The Joey Chair Shot". See more »

Goofs

Saguaro cactus appears in several scenes of the Mexican desert. However, these grow in the Sonora Desert region and not south of San Diego. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Hassan: It's almost new. Three hundred cartridges. The guy who gave it to me said you can hit as far as three kilometers.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Acting Out (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Mujer Hermosa
Los Incomparables
Ventura Ramos
Ventura Ramos
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Excellent, bloody; well-communicated film
21 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Babel weaves four disparate and seemingly unrelated tales into a distinct, gritty narrative about the importance of communication - and what can happen when it goes awry. The movie is oftentimes difficult to watch, with ultrarealistic cinematography and gutsy, honest performances from its entire cast, particularly Oscar-nominated actresses Adriana Barraza (Amelia) and Rinko Kikuchi (Chieko).

Told nonlinearly, the movie describes the travails of a troubled married couple with a tour group in Morocco, played by Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Something in their past has driven them apart, and to help deal with the problem they have taken a trip together. Meanwhile, the sons of a shepherd fight over who's the better shot with their new rifle and fire a blast at the couple's tour bus, critically wounding Susan (Blanchett).

Richard (Pitt) calls home in San Diego to notify the nanny of their children, Amelia; Amelia is in a bit of a bind, because she expected the parents home so she could attend the wedding of her son in Mexico. With Richard and Susan not returning soon, and with no one else available to watch the children, she takes them with her to the wedding.

In Japan, a deaf-mute Japanese girl acts out in reaction to her mother's suicide, which she discovered; the virginal Chieko becomes a huge sexual flirt, even removing her panties in a crowded restaurant to flash older boys. Chieko craves human contact but feels that the world's even more shut off to her now than ever before, and she sullenly shuns even her father's attentions.

It should go without saying that this film really isn't for everyone. It's gut-wrenchingly tough to watch at times, especially when Susan's wound is being treated. You can readily imagine how it'd be if you, an unworldly American, were suddenly in dire need of expert medical attention in a part of the world that wasn't really famed for it. That's enough to strike terror in me already, and I haven't even mentioned how Richard and Susan are awaiting help to arrive in a small, impoverished village with no running water or electricity - and only one person who can speak English to them.

How exactly these stories are commingled becomes evident as the movie progresses, but it's not all elegantly laid out for the viewer to immediately grasp; this is accomplished in part by the nonlinear storytelling. We see a scene near the end of the movie that is a mirror image of one from the beginning, except told from a different character's perspective. That's a tribute to the wonderful camera-work and editing by, respectively, Rodrigo Prieto and the team of Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrone.

Barraza turns in a powerful, heart-breaking performance; at one point, she's stranded in the middle of the Sonoran desert with her two young charges clad in her dress from the wedding. Dazed by the blistering heat, Amelia cannot gain her bearings in the blazing heat, and she despairs. Then she makes a critical decision with devastating consequences.

Kikuchi is absolutely mesmerizing as the silent Chieko. Without uttering one word, she's able to convey a vast array of emotions, from loneliness to hostility to love to lust to affection. She's alternately serene and violent, in charge of and captured by her impediment. Chieko resents her father, her volleyball teammates, and most of all every so-called normal person who looks at deaf-mutes as monsters, creatures to be scorned and taken advantage of. Like Barraza, Kikuchi's role called for a difficult sacrifice: plenty of nudity.

Babel is a spellbinding, multifaceted story with towering, passionate performances by all of the leads. It's full of moxie and stark realism, and despite some minor plot implausibilities, it's a true feather in the cap for Inarritu.


98 of 164 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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did chieko kill her mother? was it the dad or suicide? pinkseashell09
the worst writen movie ive seen in ages franksfrank
The end of japanese chick's story was so . . . incestous !!! kdy_9
America rocks; the rest of the world sucks? josecarlosamador
The Character you hated the most. pkluong
Syriana, Crash, Babel, City of God? arunsah
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