Babylon Movie Review: Does Damien Chazelle’s Feature Live Up to the Hype?

Babylon Movie Review: Does Damien Chazelle’s Feature Live Up to the Hype?

38-year-old film director Damien Chazelle is perhaps best known for his work on 10 Cloverfield Lane and La La Land. In December 2022 Babylon, Chazelle’s first feature film since 2018 was released in cinemas.

Is it worth spending your hard earned cash on to watch at the cinema? Read on to find out everything you need to know about Damien Chazelle’s Babylon.


As far as movies go, Babylon has a pretty impressive cast of actors from Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie to Tobey Maguire, who has seemingly taken a break from pursuing his poker uk career to return to the silver screen.

In addition to those three, there are appearances from:
• Diego Calva
• Jean Smart
• Jovan Adepo
• Li Jun Li
• P.J. Byrne

The film tells the story of Hollywood as it transitioned from silent to sound films in the late 1920s. Rather than focusing on a purely historical and biographical account of things, Chazelle choose to inject the movie with surrealist humour that focuses on the debauchery and excess of Hollywood during that period.

The film starts with an elephant defecating directly onto the camera lens before quickly moving on to a scene in which a young actress overdoses on drugs. As the film progresses, actual historical events such as the filming of Singing in the Rain are explored along with the individual, chaotic lifestyles of the main characters.

Critical Reviews

To say that Babylon has been poorly received by film critics is an understatement. On Rotten Tomatoes the movie sits at a disappointing 56% approval rating.

In the written press, the reviews coming through for the movie resemble a binary code with a slew of 1 star and 0 star reviews. Bizarrely then, Babylon has received five nominations at the 80th Golden Globe Awards, so why the disparity?

Babylon’s Positives

The main area of praise for Babylon comes from its cinematography, score and production values along with some of the performances of the individual actors.

The nominations for the Golden Globe’s reflect this, apart from the Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy nomination which, quite frankly, is baffling.

Babylon’s Negatives

The briefness of the last paragraph is going to be made up for here as we delve down a little deeper into where and how this film goes so badly wrong. First things first, we have to start with the running time – 189 minutes.

If a movie is going to breach the three hour mark then it better be captivating and it better keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Babylon does neither of these things, instead it bombards viewers with chaotic scene after chaotic scene that just leave you questioning your sanity rather than investing in the plot.

Chazelle also seems to think that debauchery and shocking scenes in some way make up for a complete and utter lack of plot progression and character development. Then there is the way in which the movie attempts to pay homage to some of the films from Hollywood’s Golden Age but just ends up tainting them somehow.

The best that can be said about this movie is that it is what happens when someone watches Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and thinks to themselves, “how can I take all the best bits of this movie and make them worse?”

Had Babylon only taken 90 minutes to career and crash from start to finish then perhaps it would be worth watching. As it stands though you would be better off spending the three hours running time watching Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and then spending the remaining 20 minutes starting blankly at a wall.

In Summary

Film critics from all around the world have rated Babylon as one of the worst movies to come out of 2022. That’s further reinforced by the film’s performance in the Box Office, bringing in just $15 million from a budget of $80 million.

If for some reason you find the cast of Babylon performing this film live for you in your back garden, do yourself a favour and draw the curtains.