This acclaimed multi-character drama completes director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's self-described "Death Trilogy" (following Amores perros and 21 Grams), so just be aware of the kind of emotional exhaustion that awaits you should you decide to venture into such raw and unforgiving cinematic territory (and, really, you should). Babel presents three interconnecting stories taking place in four different countries: in Morocco, two vacationing Americans (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett) become the subject of an international incident after one of them is shot (by accident) by a young goatherder simply trying out a new rifle from afar (a bit of advice: don't point the gun in the general direction of a tour bus); in Japan, a rebellious (and deaf) Japanese schoolgirl (Rinko Kikuchi, who's nothing less than astonishing) haunted by her mother's recent suicide starts coming on to the much older detective (Satoshi Nikaido) who's investigating her father's possible involvement with a certain incident that occurred in Morocco; and back in the U.S., the nanny (Adriana Barraza) of the two Americans vacationing in Morocco suddenly has to take care of their children for longer than she anticipated, which forces her to take the kids into Mexico with her for her son's wedding, where she gets into some trouble with her ne'er-do-well nephew (Gael Garcia Bernal). As with the previous installments in Inarritu's "Death Trilogy," Babel is sometimes needlessly (and often self-indulgently) dark and depressing, but no one can deny that the Mexican filmmaker isn't a fascinating and unique storyteller capable of getting top-notch performances out of his actors -- and leaving many questions for his audiences to ponder.
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