Movie review: "Babel"
Two Moroccan boys, whose family’s survival depends on the herd of goats they tend, are given a rifle and told to kill any jackals they see.
An American couple (played by Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett) choose that same country as a holiday destination, in an attempt to mend their marriage...and suffer a freak accident near a village where there’s no hospital and the only doctor’s a vet.
A Mexican nanny working in San Diego, unable to get the day off to attend her son’s wedding, decides to go anyway, taking her two young charges with her across the border.
In Japan, a deaf-mute teenage girl struggles to express her sexuality. She continually throws herself at the wrong men, only to be rejected and grow increasingly desperate.
Some of the connections between these groups are obvious; others are revealed in the course of the film. But, just like the characters, we never get the full story.
As the name suggests, "Babel" is about lack of understanding – due to language barriers, cultural differences, prejudice and fear. It’s long and harrowing, but it needs to be for us to identify with those to whom no-one will listen.
[Australian cinema release date: December 26]