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
Alejandro González Iñárritu's two previous films, Amores Perros and 21 Grams, dealt with the subject of very different people being connected on a small scale. Babel takes a different approach, but has the same central theme. The plot follows four different stories that stretch the entire globe (Morocco, Japan, Mexico and a few minutes in America) and shows how one single bullet can effect the lives of people so far apart. Guillermo Arriaga's script is breathtaking and perfectly structures this vast array of characters. Within minutes of being with them, we know exactly who they are and what drives their current personality. This gives time for the epic story to play out.
It's all centered around two young boys who are fooling around with a rifle and accidentally shoot American tourist Susan (Cate Blanchett) who is on "vacation" with her husband Richard (Brad Pitt). Though never directly saying it, it's quite clear that one of their son's died and Richard panicked and left his family behind; leaving Susan to care for their two remaining children. He came back and their vacation to Morocco was really just an excuse for them to get away and try to get their marriage back together. Ultimately it does bring them back to each other, but it takes tragedy to do so. Brad Pitt's performance is one of the finest of 2006 and his internal pain and emotional strength manage to bring a river of tears flowing from my eyes. It's his best performance since Twelve Monkeys and further proves that through all of the controversy of his social life, he's still a phenomenal actor. Back in America, their nanny Amelia (Adriana Barraza) is taking care of their two children while they are gone. Through unfortunate circumstances she has to bring them to Mexico for her son's wedding and things take a huge turn for the worse when they try to cross back over into America.The final story is a much further departure from the rest of the characters. It centers around a deaf-mute Japanese schoolgirl named Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi) who struggles with the pain of being so different from everyone else along with her mother's apparent suicide and the police's attempt at questioning her father about a gun he gave to a Moroccan man (the gun used to shoot Susan).
While most people believe that the film is about how people living so close to each other can be so different, I actually feel that it's the exact opposite. I think it's a story of how people so far apart (on different continents, speaking different languages) are almost exactly alike. All of the stories center around similar themes; loneliness, alienation, depression, the loss of a loved one and more while Arriaga never forgets to subtly mention the political outrage that comes from an American woman being shot in a foreign country. Every character feels the same emotions, deals with similar pain and are all connected by this single shooting. Babel starts off as a film about very different people in very different worlds, but ends up being one studying human nature and showing that even when we're worlds apart people we can still be so similar. All you have to do is listen.
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