‘Babylon’ review: Imagine ‘Singin’ in the Rain, but stinking and sarcastic

lovers LaLa Land they are about to take Whip From Damien Chazelle’s latest movie.

Where that lovely musical sings and dances (and monologues) about the hopes and wonders of Hollywood, Babylon He attacks audiences with nasty jokes and tiresome debauchery, portraying the filmmaking industry as a hedonistic hell of crazy egos, forgotten tragedies, and insidious star power. It’s the kind of finger-nodding point of view one might expect from a conservative politician or ardent sulfur preacher. That’s why it’s downright confusing that show business cynicism comes from Oscar-winning filmmaker Chazelle, who is on the cover of Variety.

Brace yourself for Chazelle’s comeback, because Babylon it’s a gruesome, tacky, indulgent movie mess that delivers shock value rather than anything interesting to say.

What Babylon about?

Diego Calva and Lukas Haas rejoice

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Written and directed by Chazelle Babylon navigating a chaotic ensemble of stars, sullens and wannabes, all clamoring for attention in Hollywood’s silent film era. Familiar archetypes roam around in glamorous costumes, with sharp spines and reckless moxie. Most are introduced at a noisy industry party in the seedy first act of the movie.

With a grin and a Clark Gable mustache, Brad Pitt frequently hits the stage as Jack Conrad, a married (and even more so divorced) protagonist. real Art.

As aspiring starlet Nellie LaRoy, Margot Robbie slams the door in a stolen car and a barely-there red dress, throwing herself into unassuming banter and brash exhibitionism that makes her feel like a volatile mix of Judy Holliday and Mae West.

in another place, cheatsJean Smart hangs around as a spying but stylish gossip reporter. The highlight of this decadent sequence, however, is Li Jun Li as Lady Fay Zhu, who wears a sharp tuxedo and displays a sharper style with an obscene song, making her an intoxicating ode to Anna May Wong.

And yet none of these characters Babylonhero. Manny Torres (Diego Calva), a Mexican immigrant who dreams of working on a movie set, counsels on all of its glamor and pomp. His naive smile, ingenuity, and determination may be meant to set him apart from these thugs and rascals (despite his vices. has Hard working). But how innocent can Manny really be if he’s seeing all this depravity and not dreaming about anything else?

Babylon A hideous comedy about the heart of Hollywood.

Margot Robbie fainted

Credit: Paramount Pictures

“What type Is it immoral?” But Chazelle takes this punishment metaphor a step further and makes it all the more disgusting by putting elephant shit on the poor idiots. Not only that, she shows us the elephant’s butthole up close as she releases it with a spray of liquid dung as if it were a challenge. double dare. And this is just the beginning.

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Other bodily fluids fly out at the party. A dizzying flapper deliberately pees all over a naked man who is applauding with excitement. A tiny man in a diaper wiggles a huge plastic penis to spray white goo at the entertainers. Then, much later, Robbie’s sex cat will puke on a historical figure as if he were a priest. Spiritualist.

This muck has been hilariously dumped by Chazelle, but the effect—although shocking to see it set at the heart of awards season in a star-studded studio movie—is shockingly cheesy. The despicable are nameless nobodies or rather disgraceful people, making the emotional impact shallow even if it’s nauseous. Maybe it all means a metaphor for the hideous games played behind the scenes of red carpet glamor. But that argument is blunted by the production, which enjoys highly saturated hues, flamboyant costumes, and even a host of dazzling, well-loved artists. When it’s not disgusting Babylon An amazing movie polished with star power. Even if she intends to accuse Hollywood of its excesses, Chazelle can’t help but resort to her seductions.

Chazelle may aim to shock and dazzle with anecdotes about betrayals, hurt egos, manipulation, drugs, gambling and murder, but her shitty stories will sound so familiar that the flurry of them is fed up. Characters that might seem dangerous in a drama—a fickle drug lord, a rogue army of unruly extras, a grumpy hitman—are all tempered by a theatrical presentation and bouncing jokes that feel plucked from a Coen brothers comedy. Other allusions to famous Hollywood movies abound, but the scariest crime is how Babylon tear off singing in the rain. Chazelle not only grabs a few plot points, anecdotes, and scenes from the Gene Kelly classic, but also showcases that movie. inside He claims it’s a Hollywood version of the movie. brave, true the story he dared to open, warts, pee, vomit and all.

While this caring attitude may sound exciting, it’s all done with a smug attitude that gets tiresome early on, and this becomes even more so as the film progresses through a grueling three hours and 8 minutes of running time. Even in a comedy filled with bawdy humor, Chazelle takes herself painfully seriously.

Babylon fails on color characters.

Li Jun Li plays Lady Fay Zhu.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

He uses two undercooked subplots to reluctantly mock the film industry’s long history of casting people of color aside, as well as Chazelle’s vexing cursing of Hollywood’s collapse. In one, Black trumpet player Sidney Palmer, played by Jovan Adepo, rises to fame through a series of short films, but faces overwhelming concessions as his reputation grows.

In another, the witty and sensual Lady Fay Zhu contributes to the rise of the flamboyant new It Girl Nellie, before the two are plunged into pure love. (Chazelle sarcastically lingers on same-sex lip locks, since this is a ’90s teen drama.) BabylonHours of runtime, Chazelle gives these threads little time to develop. These intriguing characters disappear for so long that you might forget they were there.

Of course, with so many threads and whimsical characters, Chazelle can’t make it all into one rich tapestry. But when it comes to white characters (who are also portrayed by the movie’s biggest stars), he’ll enjoy screen time repeating stories of failed marriages and rolling in pieces of physical comedy that last painfully long. Then he will clearly cut through such manic comedies with scenes that show the low point of a colorful character, as if his arcs were an afterthought.

Adepo’s trumpeter is introduced before she’s heartbroken, while Li’s multi-talented Lady Fay Zhu is subjected to a lustful gaze that treats her beauty and weirdness as an exotic spectacle. At that time, both thrown before the final act. If the purpose of Chazelle’s movie is to condemn Hollywood and the Black, Asian and queer artists it casts aside, maybe it shouldn’t do the same damn thing!

Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Tobey Maguire and many more big stars are lining up to piss off Hollywood. Babylon.

Brad Pitt plays a big movie star in New York with a love life fit for tabloids.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Bathe in champagne shimmer and warm gold tones that make the flesh shine, Babylon visually indicates that not everything that glitters is gold. Chazelle’s script takes us from the back doors of corrupt parties, to dance floors overflowing with orgies, to open-air sets where sex, violence and spectacle are valued above all else. The cast adds explosive energy to their vulgar characters, throwing four-letter words with mega-watt smiles and throwing themselves into pratfalls and vomiting with unblinking enthusiasm.

Brings the Pitt vibe Inglourious Gang A personality that adds a George Clooney-like streak of clowning to this insecure movie star for good measure. Robbie transforms Harley Quinn’s chaotic bisexual energy into a party girl destined to be the center of attention. Tobey Maguire shows up in a gruesome cameo and brings a sensational level of mayhem with his unblinking gaze and over-wide smile. And while they’re hilariously extreme, Calva is left to play the straight guy that grounds the story.

But the balance is upset. Maybe it’s because Calva’s on-screen presence just couldn’t resist her mega-star scene partners. Maybe it’s because of how characters with less privilege (and therefore greater stake) are cast aside while Manny jumps on those with more (and less). Or maybe in the midst of all this turmoil and charisma, Babylon eventually it fits. His condemnation of Hollywood is outraged but not profound. His criticism is furious but offers little argument.

Babylon Sounds like a tantrum. Deliberately repulsive and occasionally dazzling, Chazelle’s film reluctantly acknowledges the cinematic wonders Hollywood is capable of, but then bellows about the chaos and carnage that lurks beneath these shimmering frames. This is nothing new, really. Chazelle’s prestige, the star power of the cast, and the studio budget that allows for such an amazing production value create a glossy finish to her ragged reviews and second-rate bile vomiting. But no matter how obscene or shocking this movie may sound, these virtues make the movie’s rage blank as it craves for something that dares to tell the story. Finally, as crazy as it sounds, Babylon not wildly fun or slyly crazy. It’s just boring.

Babylon now in theaters.

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