dirty: It’s 1926, and the movie business is booming. If you’re at the top, you’re riding with top film producers to flashy boats in the California desert, uninhibited orgies stuffed with tape, booze, cocaine, and elephants walking through the crowd. If you’re not, well, you’re sneaking around anyway and hoping to get a big shot.
At one of these parties we meet six characters who mark the end of one era and the beginning of another: Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt), a silent movie star whose luster is beginning to fade after decades in the business world. Nellie LaRue (Margot Robbie), a Jersey girl who is a hard partyer and wants to be in the pictures. and Manny Torres (Diego Calva), a boisterous assistant who climbs the ladder one silly service every time.
There’s also Elinor St. John (Jan Smart), a Hedda Hopper gossip journalist who’s building up stars as fast as she can tear them apart; Sydney Palmer (Jovan Adepo), a jazz trumpeter who finds himself on the cusp of stardom; and Ms. Fei Zhou (Lee Jun Lee), a queer woman who struggles to maintain her stardom. And as motion pictures progress from the silent era to the sound era, all of these people will have to find ways to adapt — or die.
Overdose in the rain: Damien Chazelle Babylon He wants to lift you up and piss you off, often within the same framework. On the one hand, it’s a brash, brash, farce caricature of the kind of excesses Hollywood enjoyed in the 1920s: its opening film is a chaotic cacophony of dervish, Linus Sandgren’s camera circles and turns around a crowded desert palace teeming with all kinds of punk activity. the scantily clad women (if they were at all) writing over the men in their slouchy tuxedos; a young young man urinating on a fat film producer; Cars collide, and movie guys hurl their faces into stacks of cocaine so high it makes Scarface jealous.
It’s these long-form comic pieces where Babylon It comes alive, milking Hollywood history for all its screwball absurdities. Hollywood parties turn into rattling snake fights, while a last-ditch effort to pay off some gambling debts propels us down a multi-level inferno scene that foreshadows the cinematic parties to come. The film’s sweat and struggle with the demands of sound filmmaking turns into an incredible crescendo of comedic tension, funnier than most studio comedies released this year.
The world is a kind of arch-fantasy version of 1920s Hollywood, surging and scrambling as Chazelle enjoys the vulgarity of the era unabashedly on cheery fringes, with piss, shit and vomit gushing before your eyes. It’s like watching $100 Million Family man loop, re-enacted with our largest remaining rectangular names. Everything in filmmaking matches that boisterous mood: Tom Cross’s whirlwind editing, Sandgren’s lush, unapologetic photography, Justin Horowitz’s devastating jazz score.