review by Bobby Blakey
Director Damien Chazelle has already made a name for himself in Hollywood with award winning films such as Whiplash and La La Land. His latest film Babylon, brings an all-star cast including Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, P.J. Byrne, Lukas Haas, Olivia Hamilton, Tobey Maguire, Max Minghella, Rory Scovel, Katherine Waterston, Flea, Jeff Garlin, Eric Roberts, Ethan Suplee, Samara Weaving, and Olivia Wilde. Could this be yet another great film to add to Chazelle’s filmography or will it fail to capture Hollywood?
Babylon follows a tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess as it traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood.
I knew from the trailer that this film was going to be a wild ride with it teasing elements of the Great Gatsby blended with the insanity of old Hollywood. Most of what you get is in the opening of the film which is an indulgence in excess on every level. These opening sequences of sex, drugs and everything in between might easily put some people off before they ever get into the real meat of the story, but for me was a chaotic spectacle that got me more intrigued on what’s to come.
Once we get back the wild opening party the film embarks on a journey of essentially three characters and their rise and fall in Hollywood. I found a lot of these elements really engaging and interesting, but sometimes they take a bit too long to get to the point. There are a lot of filler moments in the film that I think could have been cut down to streamline it all, but at the same
time I enjoyed where it went. One of my favorite sequences focusing on the attempt to shoot a scene and all the things messing up the sound which was just fun to watch and makes you realize of the craziness that had to endure trying to do them.
The cast are all great with some of them essentially just quick in and out appearances. With each of the main cast having their own stories to travel through it allowed them to branch out in lots of directions and more depth to each of them. Some are more interesting than others with the Pitt story one I was more intrigued in just because it is showcasing the actor as he struggles to adapt to the changes from silent to talkies and is often times just sad.
It is a cleverly crafted film that brings it all together with the connection of a real life Hollywood film that infuses fact and fiction together in a brilliant way. This film is clearly one that will not work for everyone and might only have glimmers of greatness for some, but as a whole I enjoyed the tale of old Hollywood and the indulgence of the era and the overall insanity of the industry.
In addition to the film this release offers bonus content including deleted & extended scenes, featurettes and so much more. Join the party and grab your copy of Babylon available now on digital as well as streaming on Paramount+ and then on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on March 21st from Paramount Home Entertainment.