Paramount’s Babylon is a stunning and visual dark and twisted love letter to Hollywood and movie making. A bit too long for my taste but still a masterpiece.
In Babylon, the film is a medium born of light and shadow built on ruined dreams that become something beautiful and immortal. That tension makes up the movie’s central conflict, daring to ask – is it all worth it?
Starring an almost perfect cast, the movie explores the dreams and hopes of early 1900s Hollywood. Straight out of the gate, we’re faced with what I can only describe as an OMG scene with the talented Diego Calva. That scene (No Spoilers) sets the tone for the whole movie: A show and tell movie with nothing to hold back. From the over-the-top parties and orgies all the way to the blunt reality of movie making in the 1920s. Babylon is a profoundly humanist film, mourning the tragedies that litter Hollywood history. But it’s also a worshipful film, one that gladly buys into the dream, the spell, the mystery of it all.
In fact, some might say that it’s a big, boisterous, brash mess. I’d say they might be right, but that’s what makes this movie great. Some scenes could have been shorter, and you can easily notice those scenes, but we needed the mess to understand the personal stories.
However, the stars shine so brightly, the music pumps so loud and the crash hits so hard that the film emerges a battered winner.
Personally, three stars shined brighter for me. Margot Robbie deserves at least an Oscar nomination for her role as Nellie LaRoy. Diego Calva deserves a supporting actor nomination, as well as Jean Smart. As for Li Jun Li, she played Lady Fay Zhu so elegantly that I’d say she’s the most underrated actress of the cast.
Should you watch it?
The movie is the brainchild of writer and director Damien Chazelle. Going in, I was shocked to know that it’s over 3 hours long. And my only comment about the movie is that it’s a bit too long. It could have been 20 to 30 minutes shorter. Other than that, it’s almost perfection.
Where can I watch it?
Babylon is now playing in theaters.