Babylon

A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, tracing the rise and fall of multiple characters in an era of unbridled decadence and depravity during Hollywood's transition from silent films and to sound films in the late 1920s.

  • Released: 2022-12-23
  • Runtime: 188 minutes
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • Stars: Diego Calva, Cici Lau, James Wellington, Trisha Simmons, Armando Cosio, Taylor Nichols, Todd Giebenhain, Bregje Heinen, Li Jun Li, Kaia Gerber, Frederick Koehler, Vanessa Bednar, Douglas Fruchey, Aurielle Simmons, Margot Robbie, Jimmy Ortega, Circus-Szalewski, Samara Weaving, Katia Gomez, Hayley Huntley
  • Director: Damien Chazelle
 Comments
  • ethanlavigne-55895 - 13 January 2023
    Incredible and moving!
    Babylon is another Damien Chazelle masterpiece! Yes I do feel some things are not necessary but the plot and acting and writing is both hilarious and moving. With the comedy leading into the drama it truly makes you question the film. I have seen it 4 times and it just keeps getting better and better each time. They should've kept it in theaters longer and not released it on the same day Avatar: The Way of Water was being released. That was the only huge mistake of the film and for the poor box office performance. I also think the marketing for this film could've been better. If the marketing was better the film would be "the smash of the century"
  • danjrizzuto - 13 January 2023
    All kinds of yes!!!
    Maybe because I'm in the industry I interpreted this film like I did. I is amazing!!!! The writing, the acting, the set design, the wardrobe, the EDITING!! Everything was on point! H the is is what filmmaking is suppose to be!!! Best film I've seen in years and years! I recommend it to anyone who is a true cinema lover. The acting was my favourite part along with the editing. The performers were majestic and giving their all. I hope this film wins an Oscar. It's long but worth it. It was a refreshing watch with all the garbage that's out there nowadays. You won't regret it! If you do blame me lol.
  • chrisst-33817 - 13 January 2023
    The most chaotic film of 2022
    Babylon became one of those movies I never got a chance to see. I was a bit disappointed, as I wanted to potentially add the film to my list of the "best movies of 2022." After watching it, I believe it fits better on the "worst movies of 2022" list. To begin, the film embodies the word gratuitous. The term is defined as something that is uncalled for; lacking good reason; unwarranted. Babylon has the most amount of gratuitous nudity, obscenity, scenes, and characters that I've seen in a long time. All these things work together to give us a complete and utter mess. The film kicks off at 100 mph with the most grandiose party of all time, and just keeps reducing in speed until the end, with only a few jolts of energy here and there.

    To mention a couple of positives, the performances are spectacular; Margot Robbie continues to prove how amazing she is. In addition, the score is phenomenal; the music was used very well. Finally, Babylon does a fantastic job at immersing you into the story with it's sets, costumes, make-up, and cinematography, but not even these amazing things could make me overlook how disjointed the film feels (especially that whole gratuitous scene with Toby Maguire in the sewers). The movie does have a message about the dark side of Hollywood and what means to leave a legacy, but it was delivered in the most chaotic way possible, making it a truly uncomfortable and unenjoyable experience.
  • tomanc - 12 January 2023
    Babylon is a cinema lover's dream
    Great movies happen on their own time. This means that very often they don't come out at the right time for them. Two amazing and wonderful movies that came out within months of this writing are Babylon and Amsterdam. Both of these are cinematic miracles, and American audiences aren't currently in the mood for either of them.

    Make no mistake, Babylon is a masterpiece, both beautiful and tragic, and surprisingly, often terrifying. It's one of those Hollywood exposees where they show you how young dreamers go through hell in search of their dreams. There is debauchery, cruelty, high stakes, and wonder.

    The cast is phenomenal, a mix of the biggest stars, seasoned actors, new faces, and surprises. Everyone shines.

    The story is beautiful, lurid, grotesque and heartbreaking. It stayed with me the whole next day.
  • prberg2 - 12 January 2023
    An Epic ride that will engage you one way or another
    Wow.. what a film. So much energy and it just moved! Really great use of editing, music and quick pacing. Sometimes I was a little lost, but still enjoyed the ride. It was a really interesting look back at the early days of Hollywood. What it might have been like.. and how things shifted in a big way due to sound being introduced into movies and other changes happening to the culture at the time.

    Most everything in the movie was top notch. Things were really done well. The story might be a little over the top in some places.. but I think that was the story it was trying to tell. I appreciate what they were doing and the big swing they were taking with the film. It was long.. but didn't feel like it. Moved fast and kept me interested and engaged. Really glad I got to see it in the theater.. where I think it likely is it's most powerful. Really interesting and great film at the end of the day.
  • filmtravel101 - 11 January 2023
    Great cast and directing but script too long and needs editing
    I am a huge fan of Damien Chazelle, and I was really looking forward to this ode to Hollywood , especially after loving whiplash and La La Land and first man, and truly wondered if this was going to be a masterpiece or another flop like Amsterdam, which was yet another film that seems to fall into the same category as this one - a bloated confusing script that requires loads of editing.

    For some reason it seems like some of these star directors just don't have the ability to edit their scripts/ films in a cohesive manner that removes the messiness does not move the story forward in an entertaining and fulfilling manner to complete the message and journey of the film. Where are the producers to guide the captain in troubled waters when they miss their mark - much like Brad Pitts character that gets laughed at in his last film.

    Instead we end up with this overindulgent narcissistic, 3+ hour bloated film that instead of being a master piece it ends up being a missed opportunity and sadly enough - a mediocre clumsy film.

    I felt like the Director tried to cover way too many characters and an epic amount of a timeline with a massive goal of trying to make a historical film about Hollywood from the 1920s to the 1960s or modern day for that matter and it was way too much for the writer/director to accomplish in one film.

    The film boogie nights was initially a 3+ hour bloated film and it was turned into 2 1/2 hour masterpiece thanks due to the Producer providing proper guidance to reduce the directors vision to a tighter 2.4 hours and it was much more effective and a masterpiece.

    Unfortunately this film requires similar direction yet somehow it was allowed to be released in its entirety which is commendable yet it fails in a painful manner where people in the theatre are looking at the time on their phones wondering when it's going to move forward and end the misery of such pointless sloppiness.

    The film has many wonderful elements and beautiful moments, and the cinematography is fantastic and the acting is stellar - and the music had some solid moments yet I felt it had too many elements, similar to La La Land that just did not work , but still these are minor issues compared to so many bloated scenes that could've been cut - like the dungeon scene with Tobey Maguire was totally unnecessary, Sidney Palmer's role did not really add much flair to the whole story, the opening scene was almost 30 minutes long that could've been cut down - but overall the one part that really did carry the film was Diego Calvers Manny Torres character was the one surprising element that carries the film from beginning to end - and the love story with him and Nellie Laroys character was reduced to the point that it was meaningless.

    I really enjoyed Jean Smart's character Eleanor Saint John scene with Brad Pitt which pretty much depicted the whole film storyline - and the ending was simply a botched attempt to somehow blend it all together yet by this time it feels so out of place with this lame self indulgent reference to the timeline of all Hollywood films even modern ones , which seems a bit far-fetched for a film that is such a flop and missed opportunity that it doesn't deserve to even be in the caliber of the films it's mentioning.

    I give it 5 stars because it was such a wonderful attempt to make a Hollywood tribute film but unlike so many other films have done a better job this one just felt like an overbloated complex mess,

    Damien Chazelle is a master director and storyteller so looking forward to his next film and maybe the director will learn lessons from this one and maybe his next film will be more realistic and within his grasp as this film could've easily been three feature films or a shorter length masterpiece.

    5 stars.
  • cricket30 - 11 January 2023
    This picture does an excellent job of teaching us . . .
    . . . about America's most cherished Beloved Amendment. During the fifth or sixth hour of this flick, when hero "Jack" staggers into the bathroom of his apartment--realizing, as they say, that his Life is all over "but the shooting"--and viewers see him lurching past a bathtub, many will be squeezing their eyes wide shut, praying that he doesn't fill the tub with hot water and slit his wrists, as so many used to do prior to the invention of Peacemakers, Man's Newest Best Friend. However, film goers are reassured 12 seconds later when they spy him pass by the partially open door once again, this time with a trusty shooting iron in his hand. Sure enough, Jack reaches his happy ending 9 seconds later, going out with a bang rather than a whimper. A shooting iron later saves the life of Jacks's protege, Manuel, inducing the sort of dampness down below that persuades an empathetic hit man to let him off with a warning. This all is enough to make you wish that Lady Fay had had a shotgun handy when that rattlesnake sank its fangs into Nellie's neck.
  • evanston_dad - 11 January 2023
    Way Too Much-Ness
    It's painfully ironic to me that Damien Chazelle would choose to package a love letter to movies and the pleasures of movie watching in a 3+ hour film that's completely inaccessible to the average moviegoer and that no one is going out to see.

    There's a little taped intro before the film where Margot Robbie and Diego Calva thank us for coming and experiencing "Babylon" with an "energized" audience. I and the one other dude in the theater with me really appreciated that message.

    "Babylon" has some moments that shine, but on average it's a bomb. It's loud, hyper, and obnoxiously self-aware of its own cuteness. It's also weirdly determined to be disgusting and repellant, which again, who is this movie for? In the first minutes of the film we see a guy get pooped on by an elephant in gory detail, and a second later see a fat dude being peed on at a party. What is with the bodily fluid fetish in this film, and was it really this common in 1924 Hollywood for people to be running around naked?

    But this film is only taking place in 1924 in theory. "Babylon" doesn't establish any sense of time or place. Margot Robbie's hair and clothes look straight out of "Boogie Nights," which Chazelle's movie spent most of its running time reminding me of to his detriment. Robbie doesn't give a performance so much as an endurance test. She should win an award for toughing through the awful things the movie does to her. The nadir of the film is a party scene that ends with her smearing food all over her face and then projectile puking all over the guests (Again....bodily fluids).

    If you happen to find Brad Pitt charming anyway, you'll probably find him charming in this, but he just does his usual Brad Pitt thing, which doesn't do much for me.

    My favorite parts of the movie were the scenes showing movies actually being made. They unfortunately also reminded me of a better movie, "The Stunt Man," but they were the only scenes in the film that made me feel alive to it.

    Mostly "Bablyon" would have been better if it had ever calmed down and stopped trying so hard.

    Grade: B-
  • matthewkikkert - 11 January 2023
    Babylon is Misunderstood
    Reviews commenting on the busyness of the movie are fair. This is a long movie, with multiple plots, that could have been edited more. However, I believe this movie does a brilliant job showcasing the history of Hollywood. Moving from silent films to talkies, Diego Calva realizes his impact on the industry he was so longing for.

    The ending scene, with cuts from other movies later in history (beyond the 1950 scene), brilliantly shows Diego's impact and puts a bow on Hollywood history in a way I have never seen done before. Similarly, the 30 minute opening scene is a spectacle, which fulfills everything you thought you wanted in seeing the movie.

    Babylon is an epic through and through, with terrific acting, an underrated score, and a deep theme underneath.
  • oduruaku - 10 January 2023
    "BABYLON" IS A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIES
    The same thing that I indicated in the subject line is part of why I have enjoyed this film. It is a self-referential story. I suppose it could be considered giving back in a way. Despite the changing plot lines throughout the movie, I enjoyed it from start to finish. Plus, I'll admit, when I first saw the Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie posters for "Babylon"on my May 13th 2022 first shift as a Regal usher (which is ironic, considering the fact that a movie called "Friday the 13th" exists) I have no idea what it was about, until I did more research, from looking up the plot and run time online to seeing and hearing the trailers and television/radio spots. From that, my decision to go and check out the film had been solidified. I've mixed feelings about situations involving body fluid. However, I feel they could have, at the end, put an additional scene describing what had happened to the real life characters as of today. I definitely enjoyed towards the end the various clips from other movies and, in an instance that I find funny writing this, paint against a white background. This is supposedly to demonstrate movies as art forms. Nevertheless, art is not all about utilizing colors in creativity. It can be any form of creative expression. It is also possible that the paint could refer to the colors used in movies.

    In this film, we discover the transition of movies from The silent / dialogue card format (if that term applies to them) to talkies, or movies with the sound. In addition, we get to learn about early movie stars' lives, and also how the Hollywood workplace environment was like in the 1920s.

    Viewing dates as new movie: January 5th and 6th, 2022

    My grade: A-
  • ChiefBogeyman - 9 January 2023
    A Very Skillful Film
    Skillful in the sense that every aspect of the film is beautifully executed, however a film begins with a script and that is the one category that was lacking. Yes it is a good yarn of Hollywood however it touches on so many points that it lacks cohesion.

    Acting...great Casting....great Cinematography...great Music....amazing Production...great Direction....great Costumes....great Sound, Editing, Design.....great Script....just okay.

    Something could have been learned from the tight script of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. However this is a big project and once it starts it is very hard to not proceed despite the script not being perfect.
  • dbegley-748-626325 - 9 January 2023
    At least the music was good.
    But how did this movie get made? Horrible script and three hours long.

    Infamously this movie features poop, urine and vomit. That's what Hollywood is serving up to America these days and the box office reflects the poor quality of today's content.

    Prior to my showing, there was a trailer for some Ant-man movie. In the trailer, Michael Douglas shows up twice looking astonished. Michael Douglas! Definitely not Fatal Attraction or The Perfect Murder. The MCU is today's content and it is excrement.

    Babylon documents the end of the silent movie era and the dislocation for the industry. Same thing will happen when the last superhero movie is released. Who watches those movies other than 10 year old boys and the Chinese? So, so juvenile and tiresome.

    Jack Clifford's story arc was entirely predictable. And what was the point of the trumpet player's story? Margot Robbie was good, but we don't really care about her. And the Jersey Girl tirade was really pointless.

    The movie within the movie was Singing in the Rain. That movie is still popular and has made plenty of money. Maybe Hollywood should take a hint.

    Most of the time Manny just stared. Sometimes his Spanish was translated into English with subtitles and other times not? What's up with that?

    The screenwriter showed off his knowledge of the early days of Hollywood, but not that interesting. He's a talented guy, but this movie is really terrible.
  • goshamorrell - 9 January 2023
    A cinematic experience
    Babylon is cinematic marvel that Damien Chazelle is a messy, dazzling epic masterpiece that film hasn't yet accepted or had before. Damien Chazelle has called Babylon: "A hate letter to Hollywood and a love letter to movies," but his messy, dazzling epic doesn't support that simplistic idea. Set in the early days of cinema, when talking pictures were a jaw-dropping phenomenon and Hollywood was still being created, Babylon suggests a deeper reality: the film industry's raw, self-destructive, narcissistic impulses and its glorious, magical results have always been opposite parts of the same whole. Chazelle's ambitions are huge. Babylon is full of remarkable set pieces with richly drawn characters, music, dancing, love and betrayal. The film's strengths more than make up for its serious flaws, including too many endings and a wrong-headed reliance on Singin' in the Rain as a touchstone. But if Babylon makes you groan occasionally, there are many more times long, exhilarating stretches that are mesmerising. In one of the film's multiple endings, which leaps ahead to 1952, a major character sits in a cinema tearfully watching Singin' in the Rain. That enamoured-of-movies scene hasn't been fresh since Sullivan's Travels in 1941, not to mention Cinema Paradiso in 1988 and this year's Empire of Light. The fact that the scene can be viewed as a homage to all those films doesn't make it less cliched. And a montage of other movies through history is a bravura but needless coda. At its best, Chazelle's film is a cinematic marvel, evidence enough that movies are magical, as it sweeps us into the beautiful, terrible world we recognise as Hollywood even now. The cast up and down Babylon is amazing and almost eerily in sync with my own tastes. Actors I deeply love, like Taylor Nichols and Ethan Suplee, show up oh-so-briefly as if casting director Francine Maisler had thumbed through my own mental rolodex and said to herself "ah, here's another face Sonny would like to see." This is, perhaps, another reason I found myself drawn in by Babylon's excess: I just liked spending time with almost everyone up on that big, beautiful screen, I fell in love with the cast and the story. Believing Babylon to be over, thus missing the last few of its 189 minutes. This was itself a fitting, almost serendipitous, way to end the movie. Audiences come and go; they are as ephemeral and ever-changing as the names on the marquee. The darkened theater filled with flickering light? That's eternal, everlasting, deathless. The actors and the audiences alike come and go, but the show goes on forever.
  • legallady-46506 - 9 January 2023
    Unorganized Chaos with no clear plot.
    This might go down as the worst movie I've tried to watch. We left after two hours unable to take another hour of this unorganized chaos. I never discovered the plot behind this movie and after the elephant poop scene in the beginning it only gets more gross. There is very little that this movie does not touch in the way of bodily functions, bad language and orgy sex. There is no quality in this film and I am stunned that both Brad Pitt and Jean Smart would act in this film. I can only assume that their careers must be falling off to accept these roles. The lead female seems to be able to act but she should try a better script.