The end of Babylon may be the most sickening in movie history

Are you walking towards the worst ending ever?: Margot Robbie and Diego Calva in 'Babylon';  (Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures)

Are you walking towards the worst ending ever?: Margot Robbie and Diego Calva in ‘Babylon’ (Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures)

You could say that filmmakers are worried about the future of cinema. In his three-hour life, James Cameron demands that we all try one more time to escape reality from Imax. avatar sequel to Steven Spielberg Fabelmans offers a fictionalized look at his childhood fascination with movie magic. And Sam Mendes Empire of Light Olivia Colman is strangely gushing from the power of the big screen experience—like the viral Nicole Kidman commercial, only more intimate. But if the end Babylon Regardless, Damien Chazelle is clearly the most worried director.

Another tribute to the splendor of movies, Babylon It ends with a sickeningly sweet sequence: a thriving Oscar-style montage that brings together clips from various notable movies throughout history. From the silent age to the 21st century, it includes everything Un Chien Andalou and The Passion of Joan of Arcwith Tron, Terminator 2, matrix and disturbingly, the first avatar.

At the same time, this visual assault of a sequence interspersed with eerie shots of celluloid developing fluid has been described as an explosive celebration of cinema. To me though, it’s more like motion pictures, where someone says “MOVIE! MOVIE!” FILM! ARGHHH I BLOODY LOVE MOVIE!” Fair enough if you can appreciate the bravery of Chazelle here, but seeing a Na’vi pop up in a movie from the director Whip and LaLa Land It shook me so hard that my back actually swallowed itself.

More context is needed to understand why I had such a violent reaction. seemingly, Babylon A movie about the ups and downs of four people working in 1920s Hollywood. There’s mega movie star Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt), whose grip on fame loosens as the industry transitions from silent to sound films. There’s Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie), an unstable, up-and-coming actor who soon finds herself outside of her depths. Film assistant Manny Torres (Diego Calva) is on his way to becoming a studio manager. And Sidney Palmer (Jovan Adepo), a gifted trumpet player, is quickly disillusioned with the industry’s inherent racism.

Through these characters, we are shown the uglier side of Hollywood: the brutal mess of mediocre movies; the brutal nature of fame; Mountains of cocaine, wanton parties with ejaculate raining down on the crowd and exploding elephant anus. Sounds fun, right? Like that. I will happily state that I enjoyed about 74 percent of it. Babylon. At one point, I even thought it might be the best movie ever made. But then the end came.

Apperantly, Babylon basically it’s an immoral retelling of 1952’s singing in the rain. In the final scene, when an older Manny walks into a movie theater to watch a screening of this movie, he soon realizes that the traumatic events in his Hollywood career have been reimagined as a musical comedy led by Gene Kelly. As Manny understandably begins to cry, the camera pulls and scans the audience, revealing a sea of ​​faces that look much happier than hers. They are actually enjoying the movie!

The camera then hovers directly above the audience, giving us a bird’s-eye view of the top of their heads. Or, as we’re probably supposed to perceive, a bird’s-eye view of the top of our own heads. Yes, we need to feel like we’re being “seen” right now, as if someone had put a huge, obscene mirror on the ceiling so you could watch yourself committing an embarrassing act; that is, being part of a drone-like audience. What does that mean? I’m not completely sure. Unless it exposes the depressing truth that people need movies more than ever to keep themselves dumb and docile. Avatar 3 by the way, it’s coming out next year.

Anyway, this slightly humiliating shot is soon followed by the aforementioned movie montage from hell. Colors flash. He’s playing jazz. Robert Patrick’s head is being reshaped. But when it’s over, something wonderful happens: Manny’s tears turn into tears of joy. He’s having fun now, like the rest of the zombieized audience singing in the rain.

For Chazelle herself, this represents a moment of self-actualization for Manny. “[He’s] reflects his place in the larger plan,” the director said. weekly fun. “And its place as a single frame on an endless reel of celluloid is, in some ways, the history of this art form.” If that sounds a bit pretentious, it’s probably because it is. But whatever the explanation is, it goes on. “Careers come and go and movie stars come and go. In a way, this can be very frightening and even depressing. But on another level, and I hope this is where Manny finally reaches a kind of peace, which is comforting because you can’t help but realize how much bigger he is than you and that you are a part of it. something bigger. Being just a small part of it is truly special and eternal in its own way.

Brad Pitt as Jack Conrad and Diego Calva as Manny Torres (Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures)

Brad Pitt as Jack Conrad and Diego Calva as Manny Torres (Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures)

According to that interpretation, what the final scene implied was all worth it to Manny – all those overdosed actors, dead movie extras, and subpar productions – as long as he was part of such a great industry. Even stranger, as part of the audience that surrounds him, we are expected to understand and even share his feelings. Substantially, Babylon He wants us to celebrate cinema despite showing how cynical, soulless and mediocre cinema can be – for at least three hours and nine minutes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Chazelle fan. Whip The best movie I’ve seen about jazz drumming. And LaLa Land I was so touched that after it was over, I called my other half and talked to him for two hours about how great it was. But Babylon, and especially the ending, feels wildly misjudged; Another smug homage to Hollywood that gives you more reason to moan than to cry with happiness.

Like everyone else, I like to escape from reality a little. But when the final scene of a movie tries to get that love down my throat, my natural reaction is to grab the nearest bag of popcorn and generously fill it with corn.

‘Babylon’ in theaters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *