ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — “Babylon,” directed by Damien Chazelle who is known for the accredited films, “La La Land,” and “Whiplash,” is a black comedy-drama that marks the fifth collaboration between Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz. The Hollywood period piece was nominated for three Oscars this year, coming home with none. With “La La Land,” being one of my favorite movies of all time, my expectations for this film were high. After the 3 hour movie finished, I was glad it was over and wished it had been better.

There’s no lack of acting talent as Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Toby Maguire, and Joan Smart take leading roles. Diego Calva is known for his role in the TV show, “Narcos” and displays a great performance as our protagonist Manny. Jovan Adepo who plays the character Sidney Palmer is no stranger to working with big names as he’s previously worked alongside Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in “Fences,” and Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem in “Mother!” The acting holds no complaints as Chazelle racked up the best in the business, but the story drags us into an uncomfortable place that made me feel like I was watching two different movies.

The film begins with a wild party attended by stars of the film industry. There was comedy, and it was fast-paced with an intriguing story of two film lovers who wanted to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Chazelle dazzles us with glitz and glamour and the hope that one day they’ll make it. As the story continues, reality sets in with the notion that everything is not what it seems. We see a comparison between the exciting start of someone’s career and the depressing downfall of another. There was a scene well executed by Joan Smart that ended up being my favorite where she explains the beauty of being an actor and leaving behind something that will always be alive. When watching Chazelle’s films you can tell he’s a dreamer and appreciates the evolution of motion pictures. He’ll draw you in with anticipation for a happy ending but slowly adds the truths of life leading to a more realistic ending. 

Although “Babylon,” had great concepts and production, the movie takes a turn halfway through leading to disturbing scenes and loss of hope. Chazelle introduces reality but sometimes it’s nice to indulge in fantasy. Joans Smart’s dialogue comes full circle as Manny watches life on the screen that has actually been lost. No questions result after the film wraps up, as I was left with an indifferent but satisfied feeling. Chazelle highlights that dreams can come true and can live on but questions how long they will be present in your own life and create contentment. “La La Land,” still reigns as my number one but I look forward to what Chazelle will do next.

House Rating: 2.5/5

If you liked this film check out “La La Land,” “Whiplash,” “Elvis,” “The Player,” and “Birdman.” “Babylon,” is available on Paramount+, Amazon, and Google Play.