Film critic Gary Kramer savaged the old-Hollywood epic comedy-drama “Babylon” in his review, calling the Damien Chazelle flick “a busy, bawdy and bad orgy of Hollywood nothingness” and suggesting it’s crowning achievement was “to make Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie boring.”
The review — which was published Friday on Salon ahead of what was supposed to be the film’s big opening weekend — began with a simple question from Kramer: “Why, Damien Chazelle? Why?” And the Philadelphia-based critic’s assessment only got more and more brutal as it continued.
Kramer lamented the plot relating to two supporting characters — a lesbian singer named Fay and a black musician named Sidney — saying that they appeared to be little more than tokens: “Fay and Sidney each get their own storylines, but Chazelle shortchanges them, just as Hollywood does, by giving them very little to do other than be lesbian/Asian, and Black, and keeping them mostly on the sidelines.”
The critic went on to complain that the lengthy film — with an over three hour running time — might have played better as a miniseries, but even then, he argued that the underlying theme in each individual storyline was the same.
“There is one good idea in each storyline, but it is the same one: Hollywood is a soulless dream factory. It is neither original nor profound,” Kramer wrote. “The characters are one-trick ponies who barely get to develop over time — and the film covers almost a decade in their lives (plus a coda).”
“Nothing ‘Babylon’ says is very deep, and Chazelle takes his time to say nothing,” Kramer continued, arguing, “Perhaps Chazelle’s greatest accomplishment here is to make Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt boring.”
Kramer’s assessment appears so far to align with that of the general public — “Babylon” tanked at the box office over the Christmas weekend, only bringing in $5.3 million. As The Daily Wire previously reported, the film needs to make $250 million to recoup its operating budget and turn a profit.
“Babylon” has already racked up several Golden Globe nominations — Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Actor — but the reviews on film-rating site Rotten Tomatoes are mixed at best. It currently has a 55% fresh critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 49% audience score.