Monday, January 15, 2007

Movie Review: Babel

After a long time we heard of a movie that tempted us enough to watch it. And we were not disappointed.

I wonder why the movie is named Babel. I was intrigued by the name before watching the movie, pondering the word’s Biblical undertones and wondering if it was related to a clash of civilizations. But well, not really. There was the confrontation of individuals with unfamiliar cultures, but the conflicts were underplayed. The Guy suggested it's so called because there's so much "noise" - so many incidents that seem significant, even ominous at the time, yet nothing much really happens. You get this sense of foreboding throughout the movie that's never completely borne out...

The movie is very stark and intense, in its scenery, its music, its depiction of pain and emotions. In some ways, it’s the most “artsy” picture I’ve ever seen. Yet, in another way, it doesn’t seem artsy at all… It's a sensual picture, not an intellectual or even emotional one... You see, hear, almost smell and feel... It doesn’t make you think – it assaults all your senses and blocks your thoughts. It doesn’t raise questions or supply answers, rather depicts things which are, or might be...

There’s nothing entertaining about the movie. It is likely to keep you on the edge of your seat, clutching on to the armrests and waiting avidly for the horrors every scene seems to forebode…

7 comments:

Masood said...

Remember while I was in Pune last week, I tried to tell you guys about the movie and, somehow, just did not have words. All I could say was, "It's intense..ummm...kinda wierd movie...ummm..i dono...pretty strong it is.....maybe u guys should see it".

But I am glad you've used the right words :)

Unmana said...

Thanks. It is rather difficult to describe!

simplypallu said...

Hey. I loved the movie for what it was... a portrayal of events, emotions that the characters go through... minus the questions and answers. You don't always need to take away something from a movie. This one, for instance, just allows you to escape into another world, which you might never come across in your happy, mundane life. And, of course, it also makes you appreciate whatever peace and security you have in your life, doesn't it?

Unmana said...

I agree completely. I wasn't complaining, just describing the movie! [:)] I definitely think it's one of the best - maybe the best - I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
The review is really a good one. But it gives an impression that you still are wondering about the sense of the movie or its relation with the word “Babel". May be you will be more convinced of the name when you will know the story associated with Babel.
It’s actually coming from bible, which is name of a city in history.
Human civilization was on full flourishment and they had much unity among themselves. Once they decided to make a tower which can reach till god's home in haven. Everybody got united and they started making a really high tower, called the “tower of Babel". God did not like it and he punished people saying that everybody in groups have to go to different direction and speak different language so that people cannot communicate among themselves.
The movie is a representation that how is that curse still working, different group of people speaking same language but nothing is being communicated among the groups. you as a viewer can see the relation among all the stories going on in movie... same way god can see the relation but people involved cannot. Relating it to noise id more close to the meaning. If I try to summarize it “talking but not understanding what is being talked about and purpose of talking… like communication is not being complete in today’s civilizations all over the world, in different groups”

Unmana said...

Thank you.

I knew the meaning of babel and I assumed my readers would, too - if you notice I've mentioned the "biblical undertones" of the word. But the relation with the movie is still difficult to grasp. At the very least because the problems depicted in the movie were not (or not merely) language problems. You may perhaps talk of different world people live in because they speak different languages (including the deaf and dumb, who communicate in a language all their own). And yet (as the interaction between the Japanese girl and the police officer showed), communication, and even understanding, can be achieved in spite of the barriers of language.
More than noise, the movie was about the fear of being misunderstood, fear that arises from circumstances rather than people.

About the connections between the stories - I don't think that adds anything to the movie. The stories may all have been unconnected, and the movie would not have lost its impact. One noticeable feature of the movie was that the stories occured in slightly different timelines, but were shown overlapping.

In a way, noise or chaos defines the movie well - you keep looking for a message underlying the stories, but in the end you don't find much.

Siva said...

Yes i would simply say 'a quality movie'. Have you seen 'No man's land'?