Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Mohamed Akhzam, Peter Wight, Harriet Walter, Michael Maloney, Driss Roukhe, Boubker Ait El Caid, Said Tarchani, Mustapha Rachidi, Abdelkader Bara, Wahiba Sahmi, Robert Fyfe, Adriana Barraza, Gael García Bernal, Elle Fanning, Nathan Gamble, Clifton Collins Jr., Michael Peña, Rinko Kikuchi, Kōji Yakusho, Satoshi Nikaido, Yuko Murata, Shigemitsu Ogi
In Morocco, a kid (Boubker Ait El Caid) decides to test a rifle and shoots an American woman (Cate Blanchett) in bus, on a vacation with her husband (Brad Pitt). Due to the incident, in San Diego, their Mexican maid (Adriana Barraza) travels to Mexico with their children for the marriage of her son. Meanwhile in Tokyo, the police tries to contact the former owner (Kōji Yakusho) of the rifle, and his daughter (Rinko Kikuchi) that is feeling rejected misunderstand the reason of the investigation.
Babel is a beautiful and depressing drama, about loneliness generated by cultural, geographical and psychological boundaries, and miscommunication in the modern world.
Like 21 Grams, this film has a non-linear story, and different pieces of the puzzle transpire at different times and places. It is impossible not to notice the similarities to Paul Haggis's Crash, but Iñárritu places more importance to human emotions.
The use of five different languages (English, Arabic, Spanish, Japanese and Japanese Sign) is more a mean of isolation than a way to help us understand each other.
The performances are excellent. Brad Pitt does a surprisingly excellent job portraying Richard - the scene where he breaks down while talking to his son is heartbreaking. Boubker Ait El Caid and Said Tarchani, which respectively play the younger and the older brother, give Oscar-worthy performances. The performances by Adriana Barraza, who plays the maid, and Rinko Kikuchi, who plays the deaf-mute Japanese girl are outstanding. Cate Blanchett is wasted as the American woman, since she never gets the chance to shine.
Yussef: I killed the American, I was the only one who shot at you. They did nothing... nothing. Kill me, but save my brother, he did nothing... nothing. Save my brother... he did nothing.