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Running Time:
2 hours, 22 minutes

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for violence, some graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
An unpredictable, shocking and magnificent movie. Despite mixed reviews it's surely one of the best of the year.

Additional Info:
CAST:
Brad Pitt ... Richard
Cate Blanchett ... Susan
Mohamed Akhzam ... Anwar
Peter Wight ... Tom
Harriet Walter ... Lilly
Trevor Martin ... Douglas
Matyelok Gibbs ... Elyse
Georges Bousquet ... Robert
Claudine Acs ... Jane
André Oumansky ... Walter
Michael Maloney ... James
Dermot Crowley ... Barth
Alex Jennings ... Ken Clifford
Adriana Barraza ... Amelia
Elle Fanning ... Debbie
Nathan Gamble ... Mike
Gael García Bernal ... Santiago
Rinko Kikuchi ... Chieko
Kôji Yakusho ... Yasujiro
Yuko Murata ... Mitsu



Babel
Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Amores perros") and his writing partner Guillermo Arriaga ("21 Grams") have made another excellent film comprised of four interlinking stories, each set in a different country. As these stories weave their way toward their conclusion, their common links become ever clearer as their individual dramas unfold, in layers of humanity and growing intensity until they all come together, making this one compelling movie.

The first story starts with a man making his way across the Moroccan hills to his neighbor's home where he sells his fine rifle to a goat-herder so he and his sons can kill the jackals that threaten their flock in exchange for some money and a goat. Before leaving, he boasts that the rifle has a range of 3 miles which the boys can't wait to check out. They doubt his claim, but eager to put it to the test fire at increasingly long distant targets until they see a tourist bus weaving its way along a distant road. The younger brother, the better marksman of the two, aims the rifle to see if he can hit the slow-moving target. When the bus continues on its way they assume it was a miss. But when the bus crawls to a stop their assumption changes, as does the destiny of their lives.

The second story takes us to a comfortable San Diego home where a Mexican nanny Amelia (Adriana Barraza "Amores perros") cares for little Debbie (Elle Fanning - Dakota's younger sister) and her slightly older brother Mike (newcomer Nathan Gamble) while their parents are away, on vacation. During a phone call from their father, we learn that something has happened to his wife and they won't be coming home so quickly, but she should keep it from the children. Since nanny's son is about to be married, she gets busy trying to arrange for someone to take over her duties for a day so that she can attend the wedding near a border village in Mexico. But when she's unable to find anyone to stay with the children, she decides to take them with her. This doesn't sit too well with her nephew Santiago (Gael Garcia Bernal "The Motorcycle Diaries"), who comes to pick her up to take her to the wedding.

The third story has two American tourists, Richard (Brad Pitt "Fight Club") and wife Susan (Cate Blanchett "Veronica Guerin") who are still grieving over the death of their youngest child. She wonders why they are travelling around and wants to go home. Riding along through the countryside on the bus, suddenly a shot breaks the silence, cracking the window and hitting Susan in her left shoulder. Richard is stunned at the sudden appearance of blood and shouts for help, and contends with the lack of phones, ambulances and the availability of a doctor. They are in Morocco, where they assume that they've been attacked by a terrorist, not by a young boy trying out his new rifle.

The fourth story whisks us to Tokyo where all-girl, all-deaf volleyball team loses after Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi "Hole in the Sky") flis taken out of the game when she yells at the umpire for his obviously bad call. She's the bad girl of her group of students, who's always looking for excitement, possibly sex, that she can't seem to find. She lives with her widowed father Yasujiro (Koji Yakusho "Memoirs of a Geisha") after the suicide death of her mother, an event she can't quite cope with. Her account of how her mother killed herself has aroused police interest since it doesn't match the facts that her father told them. She calls a young policeman to her Tokyo apartment late at night, saying she has information for him, and attempting to have a first sexual experience with him.

As these four stories seamlessly surge towards each other, their connection and its underlying sense of dramatic irony works like a last act twist in your favorite crime novel, providing a satisfying feeling of discovery. Its dramatic story, unforgettable characters and superb cinematography make this one of the year's most unforgettable films.






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