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David Poland

By David Poland

Brutalizing Babel

Andy Klein of LA City Beat kinda knocks the crap out of “Alejandro Guilermo.” as he calls the director/writer duo responsible for Babel.
The attack is a rather harsh for my tastes. I think there is genius there, but it is precocious and a bit of restraint would go a long way. But still…
Andy’s way of going at them was too funny and razorsharp not to note. Here is Andy’s opener.
Welcome to the Make Your Own Alejandro Gonz

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16 Responses to “Brutalizing Babel”

  1. James Leer says:

    Basically, the first several points here are true, but what does that matter to the quality of the film? People are really ripping into this film for being the last in a triptych, aren’t they? Too bad.

  2. It’s not like Klein doesn’t have a point. But, still, I am looking forward to Babel, considering it’s (apparently) better than 21 Grams and Amores Perros.

  3. Nicol D says:

    21 Grams incidentally was the last overwhelmingly, well reviewed film that I went out to see based on the strength of reviews. What I got was a pretentious, facile piece of tripe better suited to a 20 minute student film.

  4. juligen says:

    Well, i will see Babel, thats for sure!!

  5. Ju-osh says:

    Here’s another secret recipe…for almost every Hollywood script:
    1. Introduce characters, conflict.
    2. Build conflict, tension.
    3. Resolve conflict, delfate tension.
    Woo-hoo! Now I’m a smug film reviewer/struggling screenwriter, too!

  6. Wrecktum says:

    Nicol is right to say that 21 Grams was pretentious, but it had some extraordinary performances in it, which was worth the price of admission alone.

  7. elizlaw86 says:

    The writer/director team on this film have taken this style of storytelling to new heights. I saw it in Chicago where it received a standing ovation. Controversy didn’t hurt Crash, which didn’t hold a candle to Babel.

  8. Me says:

    Normally I love pretention (see my love of Crash), but I thought 21 Grams was way over the top. So I’m taking all this Babel love with a grain of salt.

  9. palmtree says:

    “6. Cast increasingly bankable stars, who will take a big pay cut for chance to act up a storm.”
    This is a point that eats itself. Are they bankable because they showed their acting chops in the Innaritu movie? I think Gael Garcia Bernal has a career now because of Amores Perros and same for Rinko Kikuchi in Babel. Doesn’t Innaritu show that he can take virtual unknowns and give them a shot as well as work with veteran big names? Or is just that every actor outside of Mel Gibson is “increasingly bankable”?
    “4. Unmoor the entire thing from any standard chronology, whipping back and forth in brief segments, even as the film as a whole moves generally forward in time.”
    From what I remember, Amores Perros didn’t work that way. It was three stories told separately, each one being chronological in and of itself. Am I wrong?

  10. palmtree says:

    “8. Shoot, cut, score, and release.”
    Wow, those things deserve one numeral…obviously because they are so easy to do.
    10. Ignore stupid lists that demonstrate willful ignorance of the creative process.

  11. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Babel is far and away the best of the Innaritu trilogy…I thought Amores Perros didn’t totally work, and agree that 21 Grams had wonderful acting but went overboard at times…can’t wait to hear what everyone else thinks, when’s the damn thing come out?

  12. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Andy Klein’s article was pretty funny…I get what’s eating at him about Innaritu’s films…but BABEL still left me in tears repeatedly, particularly the Japanese scenes, which are heartbreakingly beautiful…

  13. palmtree says:

    “when’s the damn thing come out?”

  14. …in seven cinemas.

  15. adaml says:

    “”8. Shoot, cut, score, and release.”
    Wow, those things deserve one numeral…obviously because they are so easy to do.
    10. Ignore stupid lists that demonstrate willful ignorance of the creative process.”
    For God sake, get a life.
    He didn’t like it, and found a fairly original and funny way of reviewing it. He wasn’t literally giving you a bullet point list of how to go about shooting a movie. Is that what you thought he was trying to do? Bless.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    On another awards tangent…
    is ‘gray Brad Pitt’ the equivalent this year of ‘fat Clooney’ from last year?

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

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