Babylon is a beautiful, chaotic, messy three-hour epic centred around the transition from silent films to sound.
Damien’s Chazelle $80 million project follows three protagonists – Manny Torres (Diego Calva), Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie) and Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt) – as they navigate this shift from different angles.
It is a ridiculous picture with incredible highs and disastrous lows as Chazelle swings for the fences in spectacular fashion but falls short of the boundary.
Oscar-winning composer Justin Hurwitz collaborates with the acclaimed director once more with a Golden Globe-winning score – filled with jazzy numbers that combine with the crazy visuals of the movie to overload your senses.
The production design and cinematography of this movie must also be commended as they are also clearly on a very high level, helping to immerse you into the turbulent time that this film depicts.
The acting in the movie is stellar but it is bogged down by the biggest flaw of Chazelle’s epic – a storyline that never sucks you in.
The film’s plot feels like several different short stories and fails to tie them together in a way that feels comprehensible and cohesive.
Several crazy events unfold as the film blazes through a twenty-year period, but it feels like a lesser version of Paul Thomas Anderson Boogie Nights – a much more accomplished work that delivers on its branching, interconnected storylines in masterful fashion.
It feels much like a plot that relies on reminding you of the films that its clearly inspired by, like Singing in the Rain and other movies better than this messy final product.
However, this film will catch your attention with its sheer audacity to exist in the form it does and hold that attention for its 189 minutes, whether you end up liking it or not.
That statement holds true for the picture’s climax, which has polarised viewers as much as the overall film.
This wild and raucous big-budget effort from Chazelle is one to be admired for how high its potential is, but it fails to reach the legendary heights of everything its so obviously taking notes from.