Babel

September 13, 2016

Babel is a hideously preposterous attempt at drama. When realism is entirely abdicated to create artificial passionate stirs of emotion, disbelief is suspended thus distancing the subject from trying to gain a new perspective on reality by peering through the looking-glass of alternative subjects. And what I speak to here is how utterly fantastic any of the tension that arises in the film is. In each phase of a continuum of three worlds speaking in multiple languages all loosely and tepidly interconnected because of sheer fate, there is a sensationalistic and hyperbolic exaggeration of the contingencies of being human.

While I can observe the thesis of the film being the unity of the human condition to be under stressful duress of being human, such duress conceived is atrocious. Atrocious for one, because it is patronizing to the impoverished of the world. Bedouins in the desert and Mexicans across the border are imagined to be catastrophically stupid in their decision-making. In the case of the Bedouins who cannot handle a gun appropriately, this is abjectly absurd, for reasons given prior in my review of Winter’s Bone. An authentic, rustic, individual has more presence to living and thus is implausibly culpable of shooting at someone for immediate fear of the repercussions; the mismanagement of arms technology, in other words, is incoherent; if this was the ground state of the desert dweller, this would be a common occurrence the world over; but it is not because they are being insulted with this cinematic portrayal.

Similarly, we have an equally ludicrous indictment of Mexicano intelligence. What caregiver would, in her right mind, endanger her livelihood by abducting the children she is in care for just to be at her son’s wedding? Such recklessness, in the real world, would not last the years she has spent caring for them. And the children had no friends to situate them with for just one night so it was worth the risk of deportation to take them across the border? And why are the children even left behind by the parents? While I find it highly suspicious of any mother who has recently lost a child to SIRS to take vacation thousands of miles away from her children, I find it mildly imbecilic of the film to depict such a parental flight away from their two children under the age of 10 by taking up a tourist getaway saturated with retirees with no means of security and safety in case of an emergency. A meager visit to the Norwegian Cruise Lines website shows one of the major site map links being safety and security; no right-minded retiree would participate in such a voyage without planning for contingencies in case an emergency arises.

The point is the reality observed is too obscenely illegitimate to glance at anything worthwhile. The fecund use of imagination is to conceive of hypothetical universes which allow a person to become immersed and gain ground and stand on a new vantage point. When such universes are severely ill-conceived, it renders the entire effort at art pointless. The fact this film was nominated for the best picture further indicts the lack of sophistication of the academy of motion pictures.

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