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.