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by Daniella Ramirez, student writer


The film follows a familiar formula, with multiple stories that intertwine with each other. However, through a combination of an outstanding ensemble cast, including Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Koji Yakusho (Memoirs of a Geisha), Gael García Bernal (Amores Perros, Motorcycle Diaries), and Michael Peña (Crash), among others, and multiple locations such as Morocco, Mexico, Japan, and the United States— the result is more than superb.

The film opens when Susan (Cate Blanchett) is accidentally shot while vacationing in Morocco with her husband Richard (Brad Pitt), which leads to a series of events that are consistent in themselves as well as related to other developing stories.

The second story of two brothers in Morocco who are playing with a gun while tending their goat realize, when it fires, that they have accidentally shot someone. They run away with their father while the TV reports that the American public categorizes the incident as a terrorist attack.

In a third story Susan and Richard’s U.S. nanny (Adriana Barraza) can’t find a baby sitter so she can go to Mexico to attend her son’s wedding, so she decides to take the children with her illegally.

The fourth story begins in Japan. A dead mute high school girl Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi) searches for love and affection in all the wrong places, while her busy father (Koji Yakusho) is being linked by the police to the shooting in Morocco.

The rest is a cocktail formula on how these different stories slowly begin to intertwine with each other, where the audience is able to experience a diversity of cultures, and wonder with suspense how the stories will combine.

Iñárritu captures both the logic of the characters’ individual choices and the impact of those choices on others. The film serves as a modern version of the Tower of Babel, where people in isolation are further isolated by their inability to communicate with each other. Even though the characters are all in different places and different situations, at the end they all must make a definite decision in their lives which can possibly help them in their existence. From a macrocosmic perspective, the film reveals that despite cultural differences we all look for the same things—to love and to be loved.

Even though, the film moves back and forth between the different stories, it is through the intertwining of different realities that Iñárritu is successful in reflecting the idea that at the end we are all connected.

The film opened nation-wide on Nov. 10, and is recommended for anyone who enjoys the drama genre with a touch of multiculturalism.

 

 

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