Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, four tenuously related stories, some unpleasant stress and a strong desire to hit fast-forward.
Story: Two Moroccan children play with a rifle as an American tourist couple go past. The Americans' children are unexpectedly taken to a wedding in Mexico by their nanny. The Japanese daughter of the original owner of the rifle struggles with being a deaf teenager in Tokyo. No one (including me) has a particularly pleasant experience.
Comments: None of the characters are very sympathetic - they're all grumpy and foolish. None of the stories is very substantial. Nothing much links together or has any purpose.
It might have been possible to get away with these things if the film wasn't both dull and stressful but everything is drawn out and there's the frequent possibility of very bad things happening to children. The fact that the stories are interleaved even though they are mostly days apart is confusing. Like so much of the film, this narrative device seems there simply for the sake of it. It certainly doesn't help relieve the tedium.
It's not like there's even any clear message. Maybe Babel is saying that one piece of stupidity or generosity can cause havoc for any number of ordinary people across the globe. Or maybe it's a look at all kinds of ways of living just to prove that everyone's miserable. I don't know and I pretty quickly ceased to care.
Conclusion: A film I only watched to the end so that it would be easier to forget.
Scene-setting shots with native music: Lengthy.
'No! Don't do that moments!': Almost constant.