Brad Pitt delivers a stirring ode to classic Hollywood via Babylon
The film Babylon, which was directed by Damien Chazelle and featured Brad Pitt, Jean Smart, Margot Robbie, and Diego Calva, is packed with impressive special effects, fully detailed personalities, songs, dance, drug use, seduction, and treachery.
The movie had some significant shortcomings, like having too many outcomes and erroneously using Singin’ in the Downpours as a reference. However, its positive aspects more than compensate for these flaws. However, while Babylon occasionally makes one sigh, there are numerous other instances—long, exciting lengths that are captivating.
The lavish opening set piece of the movie creates the mood for extravagance and the kind of reckless luxury that will inevitably disintegrate. Pictures are being filmed in the California dunes in 1926. Manny Torres, a younger man who loves movies, makes ends meet by bringing a live elephant to a celebration that a studio executive is throwing.
A would-be actress by the name of Margot Robbie shows up to the gathering as Nellie LaRoy. She actually smashes an automobile onto the premises, all with wavy hair and a striking crimson gown consisting of artfully arranged strands of material. Robbie gives a gutsy, continuously spiraling, compassionate performance that elevates Nellie.
In a similar vein, Jack Conrad, played by Brad Pitt, is a handsome, endearing cinematic idol with a pencil moustache who is dissatisfied with just being confined to costume plays. Pitt is hilarious at first, then dispassionate and tragic by the end, brilliantly expressing the layers and nuances of the character in Babylon.
A dining table covered in stacks of cocaine and pills, Nellie performing on a table, and an elephant running rampant make up the event itself. The film’s jazz-infused soundtrack was written by Justin Hurwitz, whose plucking motif from Damien Chazelle’s La La Land is hazily echoed here. The action is caught on camera, encapsulating all the fervour and excitement.
The next funny scene in Babylon is a hungover Jack on the set of his most recent movie, a historical drama in which he portrays a mediaeval knight. On the silent-movie set, there are horses, malfunctioning stunt weapons, a cacophony of noise, and hundreds of volunteers in the barren countryside. By the end of the day, Jack is nearly unable to stand, but at that point, all he needs is a good-looking profile.
Babylon slows down after the frantic first 50 minutes, but it remains enthralling. Diego succeeds as a studio manager. Nellie’s star is rising, but she has a difficult-to-escape background. She doesn’t give up and continues to be a wild child; in yet another ridiculous party scene, she takes on a snake despite the fact that nobody else will. Pitt’s reaction as Jack watches demonstrates how plainly the protagonist can see the consequences of the irresponsible people surrounding him.
As she attempts to speak as an aristocrat in a talkie, Nellie’s storyline is right out of Singin’ in the Rain. Through the remainder of Babylon, the uncomfortably repeated, tone-deaf connection to that film appears. Chazelle portrays the studio-dominated, ruthless Hollywood of the 1930s. In contrast to the cruelty that Babylon had just revealed, Singin’ in the Rain’s portrayal of the switch to talkies is upbeat, which some people find sweet.
One of the movie’s many endings, which fast-forwards to 1952, shows a key character sobbing as they witness Singin’ in the Downpours in a theater. Since Sullivan’s Travels in 1941, not to mention Cinema Paradiso in 1988 and this year’s Empire of Light, that “enthralled with movies” scenario hasn’t been as new.
It doesn’t make the sequence any less clichéd that it might be seen as an homage to all those movies. And a brilliant but unnecessary coda is a montage of various films throughout history. When it works, Chazelle’s picture is a cinematic miracle that shows how amazing movies can be by bringing us inside the magnificent and tragic world of Hollywood as it is today.
Here, watch the captivating Babylon trailer below.