Babel – Bear Film Review

Catch up…

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.

Locations

The film takes place in four countries:

  1. Morocco
  2. Japan
  3. America
  4. Mexico

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!

Tokyo

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.)

In Conclusion

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.)

 

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Fargo – Season 1, Episode 8 (Review)

Molly – hospital. Lester – back to work. Lorne – Fargo. That’s where we left off from the last episode. This is what happened in the following…

Have you watched eppy 8 yet? No? Well, park your tush down, push that remote control button, and watch that shit. Then come back here, with popcorn, for the real entertainment. Okay, well, I’ll try my hardest to review this anyways. I promise…

A quick recovery later, and Molly is back in the police station, ready for work. She presents the Sheriff her giant board diagram, showing how Lester is indeed the killer, but he’s not interested. The Sheriff instead gets annoyed and frustrated with her, telling her to just let it go and move on as the case had been wrapped up, with Lester’s brother being convicted of the murders. To me this felt like a subtextual (is that a word?) way of saying, ‘It doesn’t matter if we got the man or not, as long as someone fits the bill.’ Subtle hints of corruption there from the Sheriff, methinks. And to top it off, he mentions to her, after the rant, that they’ve brought in a cake for her, to celebrate the return of her. I really feel for Molly, because she seems to be the only one who is doing what an honest cop should be doing: fighting for justice. Granted, she is maybe a little bit obsessed with it, but I respect that kind of determination. It’s just like it said on Lester’s poster in his basement: “What if you’re right, and they’re wrong?”

Outside of the hospital room where Mr Wretch is bed bound, an officer guards the door. He makes his way to the bogs to take a wizz, but doesn’t actually make it out alive. Why? Because from the cubicle behind him, Lorne appears, with a leather choking device: he slings it over the officer’s neck, leans forward, waits until he finishes his dance of death, then drops him on the floor. I must add that in reality, this would obviously never happen because all the guy would have to do to escape the choke-hold would be to shift his body weight to one size, and he would simply roll off of Lorne’s back. Saying that, Lorne would still have finished him off in the toilets (not in that way, you perv!) as he is one heck of a mofo psychopath.

Lorne, carrying his man bag (okay, that was a tad dark. Soz…)

Back in Mr Wretch’s hospital room, we find Lorne by his bedside. He tells Wretchy that it was him who killed his partner, Mr Numbers (remember – he slit his throat in the snow). Mr Wretch has an angry fit of rage, but can’t reach Lorne as he’s been handcuffed to the metal bed railings. He is told by Lorne how lucky he is to be alive. Personally, I see this moment as a way of Lorne showing how helpless Wrenchy is (ie, he can kill him whenever, wherever with no problem whatsoever) and is a subtly suggestion for him to work for him. He offers a helping hand by leaving the key to unlock the handcuffs on his chest, and exits.

Back in Mr Wretch’s hospital room, we find Lorne by his bedside. He tells Wretchy that it was him who killed his partner, Mr Numbers (remember – he slit his throat in the snow). Mr Wretch has an angry fit of rage, but can’t reach Lorne as he’s been handcuffed to the metal bed railings. He is told by Lorne how lucky he is to be alive. Personally, I see this moment as a way of Lorne showing how helpless Wrenchy is (ie, he can kill him whenever, wherever with no problem whatsoever) and is a subtly suggestion for him to work for him. He offers a helping hand by leaving the key to unlock the handcuffs on his chest, and exits.

Gina, Hess’s widow, comes storming into the Insurance Company that Lester works in, along with her two dimwitted sons. She’s pissed at him, giving Lester a piece of her mind as she now knows he conned her to get a bit of nookie. Lester acts innocent (as per usual) and says that this is news to him to: that Hess’s life insurance policy is null and void. This of course, is baloney, and Lester’s hot Asian-American co-worker had to witness their threatening behaviour towards him. But, this is a new Lester, lest we not forget – as the two sons come threateningly close to him, he staples them in the face with a staple gun. They whimper out of the building, all three of them with their tails between their legs.


Gina, telling Lester some stuff her sons probably didn’t want to hear

But it’s not all bad for Lester: he’s got an admirer in his insurance co-worker, oh – and he’s gone and bought himself a new washer! One that doesn’t sound like a cacophony of insanity.

Silence is Golden

And a year later, he is made Saleman of the year. Who’da-funk it?

The obvious choice

Did I say a ‘year’ later? I should explain, shouldn’t I? Nahhhh… oh, alright then (I feel guilt)…

Gus, the officer who shot Molly, sends her flowers to her when she’s in her dad’s diner. This is to show us that he’s definitely trying to woe her now (the tables have turned – it was Molly attracting him at the start). Then we see him, in his police car parked in a layby, using a speedometer to record how fast passing cars are going. But he’s also chatting merrily and freely to someone on the walkie talkie (do police call them that?). And no, it must definitely wasn’t his daughter whom he was speaking to. The camera pans left, into the empty road, and then we see him driving down it in a mail van. Gus has become a mailman, just like he said he dreamed of being when he was a boy, and we our told that this is now one year into the future. A massive jump I thought, but it makes sense – it shows us how Molly and Gus are now an item, and how Lester as completely gone off the cop’s radar. Except Molly, whom is now pregnant, and is waddling around in her bedroom, with the diagram still filling one of the walls. Still Obsessed much, Mol?

The two cops who Lorne passed by in Fargo when he done all them killings, have been stuck in the filing room for over a year now – they can thank their boss for that. One of them is throwing a tennis ball ala Jack Torrance style against the wall, and accidentally knocks a big picture off. This is serendipity, as lurking behind it is a blurred CCTV picture of Lorne Malvo, walking pass their car, in Fargo, a year ago. This is the guy that kept them stuck in the filing room (where no-one goes). This is the guy who’s made them workably-redundant. This is the guy they must track down and bring to justice, to restore their status in the ranks of the police force. If only Molly knew what was just happening in that filing room…

The episode concludes with Lester, turning around at the bar, and seeing Lorne at a table in the corner, laughing it up with three others and some drinks. He looks utterly shocked to see him as he hasn’t seen him in over a year. Yes, this is a bit far fetched – how can they be in the same room in a Las Vegas bar? I guess I’ll have to wait until the next episode to find out why Lorne is there.


Lorne, now with the appearance of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s doopelganger