Friday, March 02, 2007

Babbling about Babel

I saw the movie Babel last night, and I am worse off for it. If you haven't seen it, don't bother. If you have seen it, please tell me you hated it as much as I did. Personally, I hate movies like that and hate it even more that the Academy Awards in general reward that kind of crap (a la Traffic and Crash). I absolutely hate that washed out, chaotic/shaky-cam cinematography that they employ. I hate the epic, sprawling, over-arching story lines. And most of all, I hate how seriously the films take themselves.

Now, that said, I could actually love a movie that employs all those this (the closest proxy is probably Adaptation, which was excellent). That really isn't the issue. The issue is that movies that do employ all of those things tend to have no point. I'm sorry, but what the hell was the general thesis of Babel? What, that our lives all suck, and the act of our lives sucking can actually be cause other lives to suck across the globe? We are never understood? Maybe throw in that guns are bad? I mean, it wasn't quite as pointless as "Crash" constantly whacking us over the head with their point that "racism is bad, M'kay", but Babel still had no purpose. No point. Catharsis from suffering? Bonding through pain? We all end up sad? We all can die at any moment? Seriously, what the hell was the purpose of the movie?

I do get "it", in that the movie was meant to portray varying forms of angst, pain, isolation, and contrast the issues of self-survival and ultimately redemption through caring about each other. I get that as the ultimate goal of the film-makers. But they really took an ass-backwards way of getting to that point, and did so with just horrid excuses of over-the-top "Oh, no, don't... don't do that... no... don't do it, don't do it... You fucking did. You idiot!" Just, that moment over and over and over again. No freaking point.

Because that is all I really want from the movies I watch: I want a point. I want a point and I want it carried out skillfully. It doesn't have to be something monumental importance, but it can be. Some movies entire purpose is to provide mindless entertainment and maybe an occasional campy laugh, like horror and action movies. Others are supposed to just make me laugh outright, like comedies. With dramas, I want something that makes me think, and I want it to do it in a way that actually has some ambiguity and open level of discussion and interpretation central to the plot rather than an over-the-top Topher Grace soliloquy about drug users that seems tacked on and is forced down our throat . Because these movies' purposes just seem to be "look: life is shitty. Feel bad about it. (Thanks for your $8)" I know this about life in general, and I don't need you coming at me with some display of shared angst for the sake of showing angst floating around on a screen for two and a half hours when the best underlying message you can take from it is "yeah, that stuff sucks. Glad that isn't me."

So, that said: Fuck Babel.


Post a Comment

<< Home