Film Review – Babylon

Babylon (MA)

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

Starring: Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Diego Calva

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

We delve had-first into a period of transition in Hollywood in the roaring 20’s, seen through the eyes of a couple of ambitious industry newbies and a bonafide big screen star.

In 1926, Mexican immigrant Manny (Diego Calva) crosses paths with undiscovered but self-declared star Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie), who is bursting with raw talent and intent on being the next silent film superstar, at a debaucherous Hollywood party.

Their friendship develops and deepens throughout the years, as Nellie’s star rises and falls, and Manny works his way up through the ranks to big-time producer.

Their careers develop during Hollywood’s transition from silent films to talkies, which comes with a raft of problems and possibilities.

Meanwhile, heartthrob actor Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt) grapples with his own relevance and place in the industry.

Writer/director Damien Chazelle creates a hectic world of excess, from cocaine to character acting styles and personalities, that some may find overwhelming.

But this is one ride you want to strap in for.

There are career defining sequences for Chazelle – Nellie’s first time filming with sound is a masterclass of editing and comic timing, as it explores the technical nightmares that the new technology brought for cat and crew.

Robbie delivers a dynamic tour-de-force performance, maintaining a level of energy and enthusiasm that is almost exhausting to experience but deserves kudos.

This is a breathless, wild, manic and frantic three hour love letter to Hollywood, films and film making that stuns and impresses on every level.

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