Posted by: Paul | February 17, 2010


Holy shit! Biggest ever day on the blog yesterday, just when I thought no-one was interested. Lot of incoming searches about the Boarder Cross, seems I wasn’t the only one excited by it. Shame about Zoe Gillings getting hurt – I wasn’t well yesterday (am still not, man flu) so didn’t stay up to watch it so will catch it on the iPlayer. Good on her for making the “small final” though, even if she couldn’t actually race it in the end. Next time maybe. She just needs some decent funding and good snow time.

Anyway, been doing a bit of catching up on movies while I’m off. We have a fair bit of stuff stored on the PVR from around Xmas and finally got around to watching Babel yesterday. My god, what a crushingly sad movie. Pathos everywhere. Pathos pathos pathos. Get yer pathos ‘ere.

As with all Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s films, it’s a multi stranded work which comes together gradually. And it was brave, I thought, in Hollywood terms at least, to shoot something high profile and big budget when only around 30% of the dialogue is in English (hence the title). Here be spoilers:

A Moroccan goatherd buys a rifle with which to kill the jackals that threaten his flock. An American couple take a last-ditch “save our marriage” holiday to Morocco after the death of a child. A Mexican nanny in San Diego needs to attend her son’s wedding over the border and finding no-one else to help look after the children she risks everything in taking them with her. And in Japan a deaf-mute teenager undergoes a sexual awakening after her mother’s suicide leads her to rebel against her father.

Gradually the connections become apparent. The goatherd’s sons test the rifle while guarding the flock. They fire at a tour bus a great distance away. The bullet hits Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt’s wife. The tour bus is forced to detour to the guide’s village for help. The Mexican nanny cares for their children and, unable to make other arrangements and with Pitt indisposed, is forced to take the children across the border to the wedding. And the Japanese father was responsible for the rifle which made its way into the hands of the goatherd after he gifted it to his guide on a hunting trip.

It’s intricately done, heavily involving, and, like I say, crushingly sad. Inarritu makes what seems like a pointed joke at the expense of American audiences at the end of the movie – Blanchett survives (as do her kids after being lost in the desert after an illegal border crossing), and on a news channel in a bar in Japan, the newscaster reads “At last, the Americans have their happy ending.”

No-one else gets off so lightly.


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