BABEL GALA D: Alejandro González Inarittu's w/ Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett. U.S. 142 min. Saturday, September 9, 9:30 PM ROY THOMSON HALL; Sunday, September 10, 11:30 AM VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
Like Inarittu's other collaborations with screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga (21 Grams, Amores Perros), Babel employs whiplash time shifts and multiple storylines revolving around a central event. In Babel, the event is the inadvertent shooting of an American tourist in the middle of the Moroccan desert, and the people include her husband, members of the shooter's family, the tourists' kids back home in L.A. with their Mexican nanny and a Japanese family.
Iörritu won best director at Cannes for Babel, which is being positioned for a best picture Oscar run by Paramount. This should be a challenge for a long film in four different languages that lacks a dominant lead. It's also exhausting -- every story is fraught with emotional landmines and huge acting moments. I'm not sure it's great, but there's no denying Iörittu's extraordinary directorial skill and the supercharged efforts of the cast.