A couple of years ago when Maniratnam’s Yuva was being released we heard that it has something to do with one Mexican movie called “Amores Perros” . I liked Yuva & so always wanted to see the other one . But unfortunately that wish is yet to be fulfilled . Anyway after sometime I discovered Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s next movie 21 grams in the hostel LAN & wasted no time to gulp it . This is how I started getting addicted to his style of chaotic yet intriguing storytelling . Since then I’d been waiting to watch Babel . Today I’ve finally watched it and it was as I expected . An array of seemingly unrelated characters woven into a mesmerizing plot !!!
We were late for the show & missed first five minutes of the show , so I don’t know exactly how the movie started !! Anyway when we entered the theatre Brad Pitt & Cate Blanchett were traveling through the Moroccan deserts on a tourist bus . Suddenly a bullet comes from nowhere & hits Cate on her shoulder . At that very moment there is a cut & we find ourselves in Japan ! I’m sure those who were not familiar with Inarritu found it most unexpected !! Anyway now we move into the second plot , the story of a deaf & mute Japanese girl who tries to lead a normal life with her friends & her father .
But she’s sexually frustrated & at times feels left out because of their physical limitations . The girl & her father’s roles are played by Rinko Kikuchi & Koji Yakusho . After a few minutes again there is a sharp cut & now we land in Mexico where some Mexican immigrants from US comeback to Mexico to attend a wedding . The Mexican aunt & nephew duo is played by Adriana Barraza & Gael Garcia Barnal .
This is the basic plot of the movie . Three incidents happening in three countries & so the location keeps changing every five minutes but it never hinders the pace of the story . Moroccan cops traces assailants of the American tourist & finally it is found that it is actually two teenagers who were given the rifle to kill jackals to save their goats . An encounter takes place & the one of the boys were shot . At that time the other boy raises his hands , surrenders & takes all the blame upon himself . This was one of the most touching scenes of the movie . On the other hand in Japan the father finds it difficult to communicate with the daughter . His wife had committed suicide sometimes ago . Cops come to visit him regarding the incident in Morocco . The girl is attracted to one of the cop & bares it all for him . At the same time the Mexicans return to US border from the wedding . They were having two American kids with no letter of consent from their parents . Also Gael was driving intoxicated . So when they were stopped at the border & interrogated , he panics & drives off the post . He then drops his aunt & the kids at the desert & runs away !!
After this the story unfolds quickly & we finally get to see what actually is happening & why they traveled to three countries to shoot the movie . But I’m not going to spill the beans as it might spoil the party for those who are planning to watch the film . Coming to performances , Brad Pitt delivers his finest one so far as the anxious husband while Blanchett also excels in her small role . Rinko Kikuchi also has done justice to a very difficult role & also I shouldn’t forget Barraza in the Mexican front . Also the small but significant Moroccan characters (unfortunately I don’t know the names of those actors!!) have delivered brilliant performances . Having said it all , is there any let downs??? Alas it’s there !! Gael Garcia Bernal is totally wasted !! He suddenly disappears & never comes back again . It was the weakest point in an otherwise flawless story . Anyone who’s seen Motorcycle Diaries , must’ve expected more of this actor .
As far as direction is concerned , I can only say that a lesser director would’ve made a mess of such a plot !! But Inarritu pulls it off . He also completes his trilogy of death with this one (Amores Perros , 21 Grams & Babel) . But I would definitely like him to make three more !! Also worth mentioning is Guillermo Arriaga’s writing . He has also written the previous ones & he is actually the brain behind these beautifully messy plots . Cinematography is first rate , specially the shots in Moroccan terrains are a visual treat . But what I liked most is the music by Gustavo Santaolalla . It is haunting & soul enriching at the same time . Also the music keeps changing according to the locations .
In All I can say is that it is worth the money you are going to pay for it . So , don’t hesitate , go for it…..& “If You Want to be Understood...Listen….”