Babylon [Grade: 84.59%]

Director: Damien Chazelle

Story By: Damien Chazelle

Cast: Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Diego Calva, Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, Toby McGuire, & Flea.

* * *

This film made me want to play the 2000s computer game The Movies by Lionshead. When are they coming back out with that game? I need it in my life. 

* * *

Theme & Story: A-

Pacing: A-

Character: A

Overall “Paper” Score: A-

* * *

Entertainment Factors

General Public: Don’t Watch

Drama Comedy Fans: Interesting Enough

Film Lovers & Enthusiasts: Worth the $$$

Experience Seekers (Outlandishness & Drama): Worth the $$$

Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Don’t Rush

* * *

TAKEAWAYS:

1. Two unknowns in the 1920s wanting to be part of the movie star life get their separate opportunities along with everything that comes with fame, cinema, and the shift in cinematic experiences—the good, bad, and ugly. This is Babylon.

Thematically, I was able to latch on and follow quite a few pretty well developed messages. The foundation of the film seemed to have a message about the wild, fast paced, outlandish, and ever-changing world of Hollywood and all those who actively participate in this world/bubble. 👍🏾

Then extensions of that foundation birthed messages about how love and appreciation for something is all that some people have to give them a sense of purpose and existing; the power of film, and the ways it can control how we/own how we/ make us feel and/or exist (both from an audience perspective and Hollywood perspective). 👍🏾

The strength of the film for me were the last two Acts where the film really gave space for the theme to truly live through multiple character perspectives and storylines that all seemed to hang from the same thread. 👍🏾

The love story component, in regards to certain characters, is where I feel this film could’ve used another eye on the script. It really exposed itself in a rather sudden and random way in Act Three that I wasn’t really feeling. Yes, it was implied…even blatantly at one point early in the film, but that still didn’t do enough to really give that Act Three moment enough fuel to let it slide 100%. 🤷🏾‍♂️

2. Not the “My P**sy” song. 🫢😅

3. Lissen…that “make up” scene and stage lighting… 🫢

4. I love Margot…just UGH! 😩🙌🏾

5. This film has a runtime of 179 minutes, and the engagement from both the performances and the overall direction keeps you fully attentive. There was never a moment that my eye wasn’t drawn to something, or my ears weren’t embracing something. 👍🏾

Pacing of the themes was solid, and I think the the foundation of the story being told at the onset of a new cinematic experience provided a universal tension that allowed the theme to be flushed out well via the character developments in response to the shifts. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

The only area that pacing moved a little too fast for me was when it came to this internal character love story, which then sort of showcased some pacing issues for understanding the backstory to the love interest.🤷🏾‍♂️

6. Chile, Toby McGuire! He had one assignment, and he came and did what he had to do. 😂

7. That first talkie production scene…P.J. Byrne was so much, but that entire scene was so much! 🤣🤣🤣

8. The band was hitting! 👍🏾👍🏾

9. I love the disheveled Diego Calva… he was bae….not that slicked back Calva. ❤️

10. First off, I absolutely adore Margot Robbie (and I think I’ve said this in other reviews). And honestly, the way that directors shoot her adds to my love for her—I mean, I feel like she gets the right type of close ups at the right moment. 👍🏾👍🏾

I also really enjoyed Brad Pitt, and I think this is one of the best performances I’ve seen from him. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

Javon Adepo, with only a trumpet and intentional screen time later in the film, delivered a great performance with a clear purpose. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

Jean Smart was such a kee, and Diego Calva… amazing! 👍🏾👍🏾

In terms of thematic followthrough, every character knew the assignment in writing. Calva’s final scene really emphasized the messaging of film’s impact on our feelings and existence; Pitt’s character was a great vessel for purpose and existing as well as participating in the bubble/world of Hollywood; Robbie’s character was the participation in the Hollywood bubble/world in addition to the sense of purpose and existing; and even Smart’s and Adepo’s characters carried out the themes of how film and Hollywood can impact feelings and/or existence. 👍🏾👍🏾

The characters were quite strong! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

** ** **

Overall #Babylon gives Licorice Pizza – meets The Great Gatsby – meets the Netflix series Hollywood – meets the 2000s game The Movies.  

This is a yet another film where my entertainment factor isn’t a reflection of my personal feelings. When the film ended, I found myself smiling. There was something special about this movie for me, so I appreciated and enjoyed it. BUT…my entertainment factor is never just for me. It’s me taking into consideration every type of socio-economic viewer who is planning to spend their money and give up hours of their time. 

I recognize that this is a film catered to those who genuinely love the history and/or antics of film and film making which might have had an impact on my viewing experience and why I ultimately had a nicely contained blast. 

SN: Though I LOVE me some Margot, and enjoyed her here, something in me just felt like she tapped into her Harley Quinn persona and it has me wondering if that “voice” is her go-to “American” voice (since she’s Australian)… … …

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