Sunday, February 04, 2007
I know, it's another movie post.
Since Babel won the Best Picture (Drama) Category at the recent Golden Globes, I thought I would just checked out what the fuss is all about. Furthermore, a local daily here gave it a rating of 5 out of 5. I mean, no movie is perfect, so what justification for a perfect score?
Initially, we wanted to watch The Last King of Scotland, but there weren't any good seats left.
The synopsis, taken from IMDB:
In Gen. 11:9, the name of Babel is etymologized by association with the Hebrew verb balal, 'to confuse or confound'. Babel, through a series of misunderstandings, interweaves the unfortunate circumstances of a Moroccan, an American, a Mexican and a Japanese family. A Moroccan family acquires a rifle to protect their goats. An American woman, on a bus tour with her husband, is accidentally shot, which is in turn grossly exaggerated by the press who are quick to label the incident as a "terrorist attack". The same couple's children accompany their long-time caretaker to Mexico to attend her son's wedding, where upon re-entering the United States face problems. A Japanese widower confronts difficulties in communicating with his deaf-mute teenage daughter whom simply craves human contact.
Sounds interesting, but at a little over 2 hours long, it's a bit draggy. Someone even described it as "deliberately paced low-key thriller". I tell you, it's no thriller. It's a slow paced movie with lots of panning shots, lots of scenes that tried to invoke the atmosphere and immerse you in it, but I feel it fell flat most of the time.
Half an hour into the show, you already know how three of the stories are connected, save for the Japanese one.
It's all about human relationships and how and why people do what they do. About how people in different countries are different, yet similar. We yearned for love, we want to be loved, we try to be the best husband / father / wive / mother we can be.
Out of those four, I only found the Japanese girl story. The Japanese girl is a deaf mute and she longs for affection. She is constantly rejected by boys when they find out that she's mute. She goes to desperate measures to seek affection, doing things that makes her look cheap.
The Mexican babysitter who takes care of the American couples children was I feel, an unnecessary sub-story. With only three stories, more substance and background could have been extracted from them.
The whole concept of seemingly unconnected stories is not new. In Babel, I feel that there was no overarching story. None stood out at all. It comes across more like four different short stories.
Acting was good, but like the stories itself, no one stood out, which would explain why none was nominated for the Oscars.
As to why it was nominated for Best Picture, I could only hazard a guess that this is the year for international flavours and stories. This is quite obvious when you look at the nominees for major categories like Letters from Iwo Jima and The Last King of Scotland.
Overall, I would rate it a 3.75 out of 5. IMDB has a score of 7.8 / 10 and Rottentomatoes rates it 68%.