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2006 was arguably the year of Mexican cinema, with some of the top movies of the year directed by a Mexican-born director. They are known as The Three Amigos. You had Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth (2006), Alfonso Cuaron's Children Of Men (2006), and finally, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Babel (2006).
I love Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's movies, at least, so far. His films weave a complex, rich narrative that is seldom seen these days. Nothing is ever taken for granted and his films manipulate you, show you bits and pieces of the hearts of men, and rely on your sustained attention and your intellect to make sense of things. And eventually, he draws your heart out with a bang. I completely resonnate with his view of the world that i perceive to be at the same time very pessimistic and dark, yet with, far away in a corner, an opening for hope.
Babel (2006) is no exception, and probably to date his most complex film, while also being his most entertaining. This time, the king of multi-dimentionalism offers us a story that spans 3 countries and 4 main characters that are bound by fate and chance in a story all too relevant with the state of the world today. Richard (Brad Pitt) and is wife Susan (Cate Blanchett) are traveling on vacation in Morroco with a Tour Bus when suddenly, Susan is shot by what looks like a sniper bullet. Immediately, the world turns to turmoil as the story about a terrorist attack against an American tourist in a Muslim country hits the media. A world away, Richard and Susan's nanny who knows nothing of all this trouble takes the two children over the border to Mexico where her son is getting married. On their way back after the wedding late at night, they get into trouble at the border and are forced to flee in the desert... Another world away, in Japan, a deaf high-school girl is oblivious to world politics and lives her life as a trouble teenager in a quest to find her sexuality. As the story progresses, we figure out that what looked at first like a terrorist attack was in fact nothing more than a prank turned bad by two kids, and that all the characters in the story, separated by worlds, are all linked in a karmic fate.
This is one powerful film with one of a kind narrative structure, complex editing, top performance, and powerful visuals. The story is profound and will undoubtedly wheel you in up to its powerful emotional bang in the last minute of the film. I was taken aback.
- Laurent Hasson