Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Jean Smart
Comedy, Drama, History
Rated R for strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity, bloody violence, drug use, and pervasive language.
All media used courtesy of Paramount Pictures
The Glitz of Old Hollywood- But With More Cocaine
Damien Chazelle was the first director to motivate me to want to talk about the film. Being a still relatively young talent, his catalog of films continues to show his range in filmmaking, but his familiar stories of Hollywood and pushing to stardom. Babylon tells the story of multiple characters in old Hollywood and the different stages of their careers. This bombastic, verbose, and grand story works for most of the over 3-hour runtime, but there are too many plots to make the film feel cohesive.
A “True” Artist
Sex, drugs, money, and fame are all marinating in this stew of storylines that is Babylon. Margot Robbie is playing Nellie LaRoy, a rising starlet who echos famous actresses of the time that were abused and used by Tinseltown. Brad Pitt plays Jack Conrad, an actor at the peak of his career who suddenly faced with a changing format that he can’t acclimate to. The film’s perspective is told through Manny Torres (Diego Calva) who wants to be involved in the filmmaking process and is put through some of the tensest yet hilarious sequences of the movie. I thought all of the performances were strong, and Diego Calva will be in many more films after this.
What does it take to be a star? Chazelle tends to be both a dreamer and a cynic in trying to answer this question. The answer is simpler in his previous work, but with the pure insanity of Babylon, you get lost in the outrageous rather than engaged with the story.
Overall- Babylon is a technical and cinematic journey into madness. I loved the risks and humor throughout of what the stresses and joys are of working in the film industry. The acting is great, the stunts and scale is grand, but the lack of restraint of Damien Chazelle limits the films potential and the runtime could be shortened significantly.