This is a preposterous, outrageous film made worse by its 3-hour, 8-minute length.
Who would have thought a film directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie could be such a colossal flop. I’m not exaggerating when I say there will be multiple moments where you resist the urge to walk out of the theater.
Beginning in 1926, you watch Hollywood as it wrestles with the transition from silent to talking films. But in the process the film repeatedly loses its focus. More to the point, if you want to watch a lovely film addressing this issue then skip this cinematic mess and go see Downton Abbey: A New Era.
Here you watch a movie where everyone, and I mean everyone, is smoking while getting intoxicated on liquor and cocaine. Pitt plays Jack Conrad, a silent film star working his way through multiple wives. Constantly drunk, you watch the introduction of sound end his career.
Ms. Robbie plays Nellie LaRoy, a cocaine snorting aspiring actress who considers herself to be a movie star before appearing in her first film. Constantly dressing as a beautiful whore, her vomiting on party guests rivals the puking scenes in this year’s Triangle of Sadness.
You will seldom see any film filled with lengthy scenes that will leave you shaking your head in disgust. Let me just mention the films opening where an elephant defecates on the face of one of the guys hauling him to a party. Then there’s the 20-minute party seen in the movie trailer that may very well be one of the most profane moments of human excess ever seen in the history of film.
Rather than go on, let me just refer to the film’s conclusion. Without giving anything away, Tobey Maguire plays a psychotic studio character who escort’s two decent guys to an underground den of grotesque debauchery. Among other things you watch a guy entertain a crowd by eating a live mouse! I’ll quit there.
There are only three likable characters in the entire film. Diego Calya plays Manny Torres, a Mexican American whose honest approach to making films is destroyed by his love for Ms. LaRoy. Jean Smart does a great job playing journalist Elinor St. John and Jovan Adepo is memorable as a black trumpet player quietly fighting Hollywood’s racial discrimination.
So, unless your definition of a good time is to watch an orgiastic bacchanal, I’d suggest that you let Babylon quickly disappear into the sunset.