Babylon Drips with the Decadence and Debauchery

Babylon Movie Review
Margot Robbie plays Nellie LaRoy in Babylon from Paramount Pictures.

By now you’ve probably seen the trailer for Babylon, and may be thinking – that’s a lot. For a trailer, for a movie, or just in general. The reality though, the trailer just shows you a sampling of what to expect in the movie. It may seem extreme, but the movie takes you on a wild ride through early Hollywood and some of the basis for things that are now considered iconic or part of entertainment history. It’s a wild ride crazier than Mr. Toads, and one that audiences are going to either love or absolutely hate.

Babylon Movie Review
Brad Pitt plays Jack Conrad and Diego Calva plays Manny Torres in Babylon from Paramount Pictures.

The movie follows the story of five main players in the Hollywood scene long before it’s known for its glitz and glamour. Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt) an established silent movie star, Manny Torres (Diego Calva) a Mexican worker desperate to break into the scene, Anna May Wong (Li Jun Li) a dancer and director, and Sidney Palmer (Jovan Adepo) a Black musician and Nellie LaRoy (Margo Robbie) a girl who wants nothing more than to be on the silver screen. The movie spans their rise and fall in the Hollywood scene and the countless encounters and people that play a role in either their success or failure. Some characters are mainstays throughout the story, others are side notes that come and go. One that plays a role in all of their careers is an early tabloid journalist Elinor St. John (Jean Smart) whose career is almost like a caricature of modern tabloids, and even her styling is extreme and reminiscent of Yzma from The Emperors New Groove – definitely, a style that takes confidence to pull off.

Babylon Movie Review
Margot Robbie plays Nellie LaRoy in Babylon from Paramount Pictures.

Babylon is a movie of endurance, both of the spirit of the characters and their dreams, but also for the audience. With a runtime of three hours and 9 minutes, the story jumps between characters, time periods, and back and around again. It twists and turns through their stories, and focuses on the good and bad in all of their stories. It shows the influences on their lives and careers and where it leads later. It also shows you the relationship between these stories and to real-life Hollywood we know and consider classic moments or iconic actors later.

But between these stories and twists and turns, the audience is tossed into pits of orgies, through drug-filled parties, and into underground fighting rings. Things that modern Hollywood is often accused of to this day. It takes viewers on a drug-fueled journey and a wild ride of debauchery that most likely plays better on the screen than the reality that most people imagine.

And through all of it, it shows the glamour of the era and the cost of being famous even back then. It shows the transition of the industry from silent films to ones with dialogue and later color. It shows how cutthroat the industry was at the time, and how people were considered disposable. The actual costs of entertainment on the people who were responsible for making it.

Babylon Movie Review
Brad Pitt plays Jack Conrad in Babylon from Paramount Pictures.

The movie weaves and hops through the characters’ stories, and really won’t end the way you would hope or expect. But it is loud, and bright, and will keep you entertained throughout the whole movie. There really isn’t a dull moment that will make you question why you are still watching, and somehow manages to keep you in your seat the whole time despite the extremely long storyline. As long as the movie is, it almost seems like it could be a couple of different movies or a series on the characters on their own.

With the amount of nudity, sex, drugs, violence, and everything else you could expect in this type of movie – Babylon is rated R. It is pure entertainment, even if it pushes the limits on every boundary you would expect it to have.

Babylon is in theaters everywhere on December 23rd.

Overall Rating:

Four Star Review

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About Babylon:

Babylon Poster

From Damien Chazelle, BABYLON is an original epic set in 1920s Los Angeles led by Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Diego Calva, with an ensemble cast including Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li and Jean Smart. A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, it traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood.


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