Babel

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Rating: R

Starring:
Brad Pitt as Richard
Cate Blanchett as Susan
Gael García Bernal as Santiago
Kôji Yakusho as Yasujiro
Adriana Barraza as Amelia
Harriet Walter as Lilly
Rinko Kikuchi as Chieko
Trevor Martin as Douglas
Matyelok Gibbs as Elyse
Georges Bousquet as Robert
Claudine Acs as Jane
André Oumansky as Walter
Michael Maloney as James
Dermot Crowley as Barth

Special Features:
None

Other Info:
Widescreen
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 143 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

“Pain is universal… but so is hope. From acclaimed Director Alejandro González Iñárritu (‘Amores Perros,’ ’21 Grams’) comes the third film in his trilogy, ‘Babel,’ a critically celebrated and emotionally gripping film about the barriers that separate humankind.

A tragic accident in Morocco sets off a chain of events that will link four groups of people who, divided by cultural differences and vast distances, will discover a shared destiny that ultimately connects them. Brad Pitt (‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith,’ ‘Ocean’s 12′), Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett (‘The Aviator,’ ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy) and Gael García Bernal (‘Y Tu Mamá También,’ ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’) lead an outstanding international ensemble cast in this breakthrough film.”

“Babel” is rated R for violence, some graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use.

Mini-Review:
“Babel” has been getting a lot of press thanks to its numerous Academy Award nominations, so I was interested in checking it out. I like the actors, the premise is intriguing, and people have said a lot of good things about it. After watching it, I found “Babel” to be a very well made film, but one that’s more cinema art than entertainment.

If I had to use one word to describe watching “Babel” it would be “stressful”. That’s exactly what director Alejandro González Iñárritu intended, but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch. The characters all go through hell in one way or another. It was even more difficult for me because the little boy in the film looks a lot like my own son. Seeing the kid shrieking and crying was, as I said, stressful. As hard as it was to watch, it was a well-told story. The idea of throwing the characters in environments where they can’t communicate sets up all sorts of interesting conflicts. The story also jumps around between times and locations which makes it occasionally challenging to follow. This is not light viewing.

The acting is excellent, as you would expect. Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett deliver their usual outstanding performances. (Although a scene where Pitt helps Blanchett pee in a bucket is a little more than I wanted to see.) Rinko Kikuchi also stands out playing a deaf Japanese girl. For some reason American audiences don’t often see deaf people from other countries in film, so this was an interesting twist. Adriana Barraza delivers a memorable performance as a nanny who makes some questionable decisions while taking care of the young children.

If you’re a fan of any of the actors or if you like Alejandro González Iñárritu, then you’ll want to check out “Babel.” Just don’t go in expecting light entertainment.

One of the most surprising things about this DVD is that there are no bonus features on it whatsoever. I don’t know if they’re planning on doing a deluxe edition later or what, but it was a major disappointment.

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