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- 189 min.
- Damien Chazelle
- Drama, Comedy, History
- Rating *
- Votes *
- 8.5% (1:12)
SiskoidThere will always be Hollywood movies about Hollywood and I'll always find them to be navel-gazing, but those of the present era feel like they're motivated by film makers panicking over streaming taking over from theaters. I feel it in Damien Chazelle's Babylon, which is essentially a tribute to, and partly a remake of, Singing in the Rain, but set in a more realistic, debased, decadent Hollywood, as the silent era gives way to sound. Stars of one format have trouble staying relevant in the other, and so the end of THAT era must also stand in for other endings - from black and white to color, from practical effects to digital, from 2D to 3D, and yes, from theaters to streaming if it must come to that (so is Chazelle writing a defense or a eulogy?). I could have done without all the bodily fluids, but his Hollywood is a dark, disgusting, immoral place that nevertheless holds a fascination and is bathed in a golden light. And so the epilogue answers the question: What was all this terrible stuff FOR? Which begs another question: Was it worth it? We know Chazelle's answer, but what's ours? The story hangs on four people whose stars flare and wane with the times, none so captivating as Margot Robbie's actress against whom the Hayes Code could have been specifically written. Diego Calva's character, on the crew side of things, is the heart of the film. Both Brad Pitt (the big star) and Jovan Adepo (the jazz musician) have good-to-great moments, as does Li Jun Li (a multi-talented performer), but the movie's big speech goes to Jean Smart's gossip journalist/critic, always lurking in the background, in a dangerously exalted position to comment. I didn't really feel the 3-hour length because there's so much happening, lots of memorable scenes, and definitely a crazy energy (it's told like a gangster epic). As usual, Chazelle brings it all in at the end, but Babylon is perhaps too messy - by design - for his grace note to work as well as it did in previous films. 2 months 3 weeks ago
peterskb45A chaotic mess. Well-directed, well-acted, and mostly entertaining, but still a mess. 2 months 2 weeks ago
252Does High Art, greatness, Hollywood, stardom, beauty, love and creativity require not only hard work, but chaos and luck [It means King in French!], sacrifice and trauma [Jazzzz!]? That seems to be the question this film poses to us and wants to resolve.
I mostly agree with the argument, but the closing statement was too underwhelming and the overall theme too dark for me to believe anything other than a hard "no". Within the context of the movie at least. Maybe that was the point Chazelle wanted to make. Not sure, though.
Presented are some very real and concerning elements that to this day still plague Unholywood and the entertainment industry, like pretty much any other industry. Shit happened, shit happens, shit will always happen, might as well enjoy the process and the products.
There's also no point in taking historical phenomena, events and characters out of their historical context. It's like blaming your great-grandparents for inadequacies that you have and are aware of. Why not just work on improving and or compensating for those? We can try to build a better world today. Anyway, despite the movie's shortcomings (it could have used a bit more time in the editing room) and misgivings, there's a wonderful score, great characters and acting, a dynamism that matches the theme and a dreamlike quality to the whole thing that made it all really engaging and worthwhile. 1 month 1 week ago
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This movie ranks #43 in iCheckMovies's 2020s Top 100
iCheckMovies's 2020s Top…43