Table of content    
  1. 1. Babylon: The Gist
  2. 2. Babylon: Review-Should I watch it?

Babylon Damien Chazelle Detailed Review: Stream Or Skip?

A dorky Caligulan ode to the early days of Hollywood, Damien Chazelle’s sprawling “Babylon” may begin in 1926, but the movie is soon burdened with a clairvoyance that allows it to become unstuck in time. Several of the epic’s characters are haunted by glimpses of a future they’re powerless to prevent, a curse that its director brings to bear by drawing inspiration from across the entire spectrum of film history.
Damien Chazelle always likes to start his movies with a bang, whether through an intense drum solo in Whiplash, a Jacques Demy-inspired dance number in La La Land, or a harrowing plane crash piloted by Neil Armstrong in his last film, First Man. But his newest film, Babylon puts all these explosive openings to shame. Within the opening of Babylon, there are rooms entirely dedicated to the storage of any type of drugs imaginable, naked bodies writhing around a raucous party, a man getting absolutely covered in elephant shit coming straight from the source, and a sexual encounter that includes a pile of cocaine and pisses. It just doesn’t have any idea how the movies will do. Here is a detailed review of the movie that will help you decide.

1. Babylon: The Gist

babylon damien chazelle reviewSource: Entertainment Weekly

“Singin’ in the Rain” naturally casts a long shadow, as the classic Stanley Donen musical created the template for telling emotionally Technicolor stories about the birth of the sound era (and the silent icons that it left on the cutting room floor). So does D.W. Griffith’s “Intolerance,” which “Babylon” alludes to in title, scope, and structure alike. There are whiffs of “La Dolce Vita,” which Chazelle’s film evokes through its manufactured glamour and melancholy sex appeal, and also “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which “Babylon” channels throughout its go-for-broke first hour (while also borrowing half of its cast).
Chazelle has just as much fun showing the rigidity of filming with sound and the restrictions of the early days as everyone attempted to figure out this new technology. By showing the filming of just one scene, Chazelle makes it clear how one major advance in the form could upend lives, ruin careers, and completely alter what people wanted from a film. Chazelle is teaching us the broad strokes of film history, yet in a way that is outrageous and always entertaining.

babylon damien chazelle reviewSource: Readd

This mayhem is enough to make Babylon work, but Chazelle has filled this story with characters that show the fragility of life in the spotlight, and how easily it is for people to move forward and leave certain stars behind. Robbie is excellent as Nellie LaRoy, whose star shines bright and fast, but then struggles with the public image of it all. When Robbie is on the screen, it's impossible to take your eyes off her, even when she’s dancing in a packed mansion. But it's that innate star power that makes this role so perfect for her. We especially see how great Robbie is when she’s on the set, giving us slight variations of the same scene, yet her ability to make each take different simply by her mannerisms and her choices in the scene. From the moment we see Nellie act, we know she's a star, and we once again get another great role where Robbie can show how tremendous she can be.
Yet the true standout here is Calva, as we watch him rise in the ranks of Hollywood, and see just how this era was a land of opportunity for those ambitious enough. Calva is the glue that ties this whole story together, and his evolution throughout Babylon is fascinating, whether when he’s torn over his love for Nellie, or his realization of what the movie industry has cost him throughout the film. It’s a star-making role for Calva, and the best performance in a film packed with big names.

2. Babylon: Review-Should I watch it?

babylon damien chazelle reviewSource: Variety

However, it’s Jovan Adepo and Li Jun Li who get discarded far too easily in this madcap story, as they get moments to show their greatness in their industry, yet the story itself spends far too little time on them. Maybe this is Chazelle’s commentary on how poorly non-white performers were treated in this era, or maybe it's just that Chazelle's interests lay more with his key three stars, but it’s a shame they don't get more screen time. But Babylon is packed to the gills with incredible cameos as well, with Spike Jonze as an unhinged silent director, and Tobey Maguire’s psychotic appearance that might be the film’s most bonkers addition.
If “The Jazz Singer” is the kind of movie that the cast of “Babylon” can’t see coming, “Breathless” is the kind of movie they can’t even begin to imagine. More to the point, it’s the kind of movie that Chazelle reveres but, endearingly, can’t quite bring himself to make, even with a bottomless reservoir of talent at his disposal, and a blank check to rewrite history.
“Babylon” looks sensational from the start, bangs along to the year’s most brilliant score, and bubbles over with riotous setpieces that frequently capture the headrush of making movies for the big screen by restoring the thrill of watching them on one. But this is a burial, not a resurrection — a funeral shot from inside an empty casket while Chazelle frantically tries to wipe dirt (or elephant shit) off the lens — and the film is ultimately more entombed in cinema’s past than any of its characters. Like them, “Babylon” can’t figure out where to go once the party’s over, and all of the creative energy it builds up at the height of its hedonism ends up collapsing in on itself like an overbaked soufflé. is a website that provides you with Entertainment updates and creative ideas to brighten your day. Don’t hesitate to visit our site to know more about updated celebrity and entertainment news.
Share this article