“Babylon” Review


“Babylon” was produced by Paramount Pictures and released in the United States on Dec. 23, 2022. It is now available for streaming.


“Babylon”, directed by Damian Chazelle, stars Diego Calva, Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, and Jovan Adepo. Its cinematographer is Linus Sandgren and it’s scored by Justin Hurwitz. Set in 1920s Los Angeles, “Babylon” tells the tale of the transition from the wild excess of Hollywood’s silent film era into a new era of sound and sophistication. The movie follows the stars that are born and die in its midst.

Babylon is a bold movie, and at its worst, one can respect it for its hilarity and sheer audacity: you’ll have a good time whether or not you like it. Brad Pitt is hilarious and tragic, and Margot Robbie is mesmerizing. They each play actors drunk (literally and figuratively) on the highs of fame, without the self-esteem to see it pass them by. The surprise star and heart at the center of it is Diego Calva’s character, a Mexican aspiring director who has his head screwed on a little more tightly. Calva gives a superlative-worthy performance, in which he is touchingly passionate about his dreams of making movies. You can see an unbridled love in his eyes that is inspiring for those that dream.

As we watch the rise and fall of the characters on screen, Hurwitz’s score guides us onward. The themes are carried throughout, but we hear them differently each time. What was once uplifting becomes lonesome and empty, but we cognitively realize it’s the same song continuing, which alludes to the fickle nature of fame and its parallels to the rising and falling that happens in our lives. Hurwitz is nominated for Best Score at the Oscars for his work.

Chazelle is now at the point in his career, having had established success with movies such as Whiplash and La La Land, that he can take big swings on projects like this one. It cost 80 million dollars to make, and you can see every cent on screen. The sets are vast, sometimes to the point of chaos, but they are shot intentionally and masterfully by Chazelle and Sandgren. It’s clearly been a love child for Chazelle and it’s really cool to see him having the freedom to pursue such bold ideas in our finance-driven world.