Babel ★★★★½

Crash and Traffic predate Babel, but I think Iñárritu’s is the most complete and devastating example of this device of its time. There’s a lot to take into account when watching a film with intersecting storylines. Power dynamics and politics are a couple ideas I kept in mind watching this a fourth time and didn’t have to look too hard for a message. The topic closest to home for Iñárritu is immigration, but then there’s the global fear of terrorism following 9/11, failure to communicate logistically or meaningfully, and class division, all which are touched on richly with multiple examples of each.

I felt gutted by The Revenant after my most recent viewing, and feel even more drained after Babel. The idea that no story is without tragedy and the outcomes are arbitrary is a little too real to not feel affected by when the credits role. As I get older and my world view expands, I feel more empathy for all these characters; a teenager seeking a meaningful connection, a nanny juggling responsibilities, a couple looking to resolve tension in their marriage, and brothers attempting to do right after they make a mistake. A testament to the writing, these characters are more complex than the descriptions I’ve ascribed them and their plights go beyond a simple description. It’s a near-perfect film (all of Iñárritu’s are), and one that I grow to love more and more as time goes by.