Wow, I was really not expecting what I have just seen, Babylon is a juggernaut of a movie, it holds nothing back, and for many, it will just hit them wrong like a ton of bricks.
From the very start, Damien Chazelle makes it clear he will put all the shit about the industry in plain sight, and he does it literally with this scene with an Elephant that you will never forget, and from that moment on, he never puts on the breaks.
For over three hours, he shocks people; he intends to shock people, to make them feel disgusting, and for the entire 3h he asks much from people, and for most, it will be a tall ask; for others like me, this will be a transcendent experience that will make you look at the art of making movies differently.
Just like La La Land, Babylon delivers an opening scene of this outrageous party filmed in one impressive one-shoot sequence, beautifully shot, with engaging choreography and music that, at the same time, just makes us have a panic attack with everything that is going on.
This is also the moment we get to know our main characters, and let me say I don’t understand why there is so much indifference towards these performances.
I didn’t know Diego Calva before this, but I am sure I will see many great things about him in the future; he carries most of this movie, which is even more impressive when he is going against powerhouses like Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie.
Pitt has an exciting role in this; at moments, it feels like a caricature from his role in “Inglorious Bastards”, but then he dips in and out of some raw emotions, which is what shows just how talented he is.
Jovan Adepo and Li Jun Li are much less on screen, but both have moments in this movie that are just masterpieces, especially the scene of Adepo with the black face, which breaks your heart.
All that would have been enough to praise this movie for the casting, but this is Margot Robbie movie, and unlike many of her roles when you love her from the get-go, this role is a struggle; she is just too much, and she gets on our nerves but just like every other character in the movie we keep forgiving her and falling in love with her over and over.
There is so much else I can praise, from the cinematography to the score, that it is one of the best of the year. Still, I will make one last praise, the ending montage, the montage that shows Chazelle is one hell of a director but more than that, he is a movie fan, he loves movies, and this was not meant to be the love letter to cinema that many expected but instead a more honest portrait that even with all the ugly sides of it the magic of cinema is still worth it.
Have you seen it? What did you think of Babylon?
What is your favourite Damien Chazelle movie?