It rained all day today, would you believe it? If you live in England, this would most probably be a yes!, even when not considering the region. So instead of being bored, I picked a random film to watch on Netflix. I can’t remember what I typed into the search thingymabob, but lo and behold, it turned out to be this film – Babel. And all I knew about it was that Brad Pitt was gunna be in it (the cover gives these things away you see!). So let’s see what I thought of this puzzle of a film, shall we?
I will try and simplify the storyline for you, the beloved reader (rate and comment please-with-a-cherry-on-top [or not]) as I care for you; and though I may never meet you in this lifetime, I am bonded to you in spirit, through the ether, the universe, the common English language I have hijacked for the abomination of what we shall call my way of communicating on an inter[net]galactic level. Trippin’ on ma ballz, y’all!
We Begin (The Actual Film Review!!)
Where was I…
Okay! Babel revolves around an American family whom have been split apart – the kids are in the care with a Mexican friend of their parents, whilst they themselves are on vacation in the barren looking lands of Morocco (that’s how the scenery looked to me anyway). The story in a nutshell, if I be so bold to mention it this way, is geared towards the male’s point of view. Brad Pitt is a Hollywood movie star, and the only actor in the film I recognise, so it’s a safe bet to say that the story’s overall moral revolves around him. That said, I shall now explain: it’s a film telling you to make it the paramount priority that the welfare and protection of your wife and kids are the most important thing in the own entire world.
Or to water it down even more so: you don’t keep an eye on yer kidz, they will fuckerty-up zee workz, and there liveZ!
Now, if you have seen this film and disagree with my opinion of what it is as a whole trying to encapsulate, then I beg of you to leave a comment explaining why, as I am interested in what you have to say. Hand on heart, I really am. To everyone else: trust me – I’m right. I will elaborate now as to why this fact is so.
The film takes place in four countries:
The main location, by far, is Morocco. That’s where the majority of the action takes place. The scenes in Tokyo seemed kinda disjointed from the rest of the movie’s obvious puzzle piece, and it only came apparent as to how those scenes were connected to the bigger picture of this story as the film neared its close. Make no mistake, this film requires patience from the viewer as it isn’t a Michael Bay movie – it has a subtle tension running all the way through it, and though it seems like not much has really happened, if you were to reflect on it afterwards (like I have), you’ll realise how understated and underplayed all the pieces were, and what an excellent job the director did in doing this. The story’s subplot of America travels into Mexico, and back to America, as these scenes involved the two children left in the care of someone, who then passed them onto a Mexican friend to look after, and from there it all goes tits up.
The Smoking Gun
The key scene in the whole entire film, in my humble opinion, was the one where the two Moroccan boys were playing around with the sniper rifle their father had just purchased from a man who came to their home and told them that it can shoot from 3 km away accurately. Of course, they wanted to see if this was true, and the younger of the two boys (he had a far better aim than the other) shot at a bus, down below on the road as they stood high up on the cliff edge. As soon as they both saw the bus come to a slow stop, they ran.
Fast forward in the film, and we discover that it was Brad Pitt’s wife in the film, whom had been shot. They find out pretty quickly that the hospital was 4 hours travel away, and having blood leak through the skin of your shoulder at this time, going that far to get urgent medical treatment seemed counter-productive. Instead, the tour guide told them that there is a doctor in his home village, and that this wasn’t too far away from where they currently were. Brad Pitt tells everyone – we’re going to the village!
To cut a long story short (SPOILER ALERT!!!) – she makes it out alive. But it was a fight all the way for them to even get help. For starters, some of the people on the tour bus were scared for their lives, thinking they might get killed if they stayed there because of what happened earlier. Eventually, they can’t wait any longer for the ambulance to arrive, and the bus leaves without them. And so Brad Pitt’s character rings up the American Embassy, and it takes them a long time to get an Air Ambulance (helicopter) over to their aid in Morocco. The excuse is “Because of Political difficulties”, or something along those lines.
BUT THE MAIN QUESTION REMAINS: WHERE DID THE GUN ORIGINALLY COME FROM????????????????
So I’ve mentioned that the sniper rifle was given to a Moroccan man in his home, after another man walks over to trade it to him for some money (and a goat! Because they’re goat herders, they can afford to use that for currency). And from there, the man’s children got up to mischief and stupidly, almost murder someone. But who owned the gun before all of this?
The answer lies in a photograph. After the American woman was shot, the local police went around the area to try and find the shooter. They first, go to the location of the incident, and find bullets on the ground. From this, they know instantly someone who owns this type of gun. But when they get to him (beat him up a little as well), he tells him he sold it yesterday, and that he couldn’t have shot anyone. At this point, he tells them who now has it, and he also shows the police where he obtained it from. His wife presents a photo of her husband, and a Japanese man. He was his hunter guide whilst in Morocco, but now is back in Tokyo. This Japanese man is the guy who gave him the gun!
In Tokyo, we follow around a schoolgirl who plays in a volleyball team. In the locker room, another girl mocks her for getting their team disqualified with her outbursts towards the referee, by saying she’s so angry all the time because she’s never been “fucked”. This results in her trying to grab guy’s attentions by wearing no underwear flashing her undercarriage at them when sat at the table with her deaf friends outside of school. Oh, did I forget to mention that she’s deaf? I SAID: DID I FORGET– okay sorry, that was simply bad taste…
The reason for her mood swings however have more to do with her personal family life. It comes to light that her mother had recently committed suicide, and so this most likely prompted the descend into promiscuity (though she never gets anywhere with the boys – they get embarrassed by her deaf-muteness), and her dabbling with drugs. The latter, again, is fuelled by showing to her peers, and possibly to herself, that she can get a guy her age to get with her.
Alas this doesn’t happen. Instead, she tries is on with her dentist, who kicks her out immediately. Then, after a drug and booze binge, she get’s the porter to call the police detective to come to her apartment. This was because the detective had previously wanted to talk to her about the circumstances surrounding her mother’s suicide, as the girl was the only one stated to be present to see her death.
The girl communicates with the detective by writing on her notepad, and ripping out the page, handing it over to him. She tells him that her mother threw herself off the balcony ledge, and that is how she ended her life. Leaving the room, the detective is left to ponder over the statements he’d been given, only to then be greeted by the naked presence of the girl, who tries to seduce him. He almost, it would seem, gives into temptation, but thankful comes to his senses and tells her to stop. She bursts into tears, hides her eyes into his shoulder, and luckily he is understanding. What he hasn’t understood is what the girl is really telling him, but without telling him: her dad sexually abuses her. This is why she only makes sexual contact with two adult males in the film, and only exposes her private parts to boys her age, from a safe distance, in the movie. Her father’s abuse has affected her.
Before the detective leaves, he is given one more note by the girl. Actually, this note is more of a letter, and we see this for ourselves when he reads it later, in the bar, alone. He has a look of disbelief on his face, but he doesn’t outright say what I believe is written: that the girl is confessing what really happened – her mother couldn’t take the guilt of knowing what her husband was doing to her daughter, and so was drove to suicide… or perhaps it wasn’t suicide, and the father through her over the ledge?
But before he reads the letter in the bar, the detective passes the girl’s father in the downstairs lobby area. He asks him about the rifle, having seen the same picture that the Moroccan police were shown earlier of a Japanese man (i.e. him) and the villager. It wasn’t stated if the detective had been shown the photograph before seeing it in the apartment building when talking to the girl, but what we do know is that he has been given enough information for him to question him on his rifle. The brief conversation ended with the father agreeing to come down to the police station for further questioning.
The detective also gives his deepest condolences for the death of his wife, saying that he’d just spoken to his daughter and she’d told him how she’d throw herself off the ledge. The father states that this is untrue, and that his wife had shot herself in the head, and that he’d been to the police station to tell them that several times.
So who do we believe? The daughter or the father? If we believe the daughter, then what is the father trying to hide? That he killed her? If we believe the father, does that mean that the daughter has become mentally disturbed – enough to make false statements about her own mother’s suicide? The answer lies on the detective’s letter. And I believe, given the information the film has given me, that if I were to bet my house on it I reckon the father killed the wife and abused her daughter. Sick, I know, but that’s what the story eludes to, even though the ending is left ambiguous, which I felt was unnecessary, and was a bit of a cop out. (FYI the reality is, I’m not that stupid – I’m being hypothetical when I say I would bet my house on it, let alone remortgage it just to titillate your fantasies. #%£~#Freak! My name isn’t John Cassavetes! I must state this because I can’t tell if you, the reader, are dumb or not. If you are, or perhaps you think you aren’t dumb, please leave a comment… because I love you xxx.)
I think I’ll leave it there for now. I could talk about this film a lot more as I found it a surprisingly thought-provoking movie. I know I’ve only really talked about one location of the film’s plot in detail, so if you liked this post and would like me to e-x-p-a-n-d this review into another blog post, I will be your humble servant.
If not – fuck you! (P.S. I love you.)