Paramount has pulled the curtain back on “Babylon,” Damien Chazelle’s comedy documenting the excess of early Hollywood. An early showing Monday night at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills opened the doors to first reactions.
The 188-minute epic marks a return to awards season for Chazelle, who became the youngest-ever Oscar-winning director in 2016 for his work directing “La La Land.” His subsequent blockbusters Neil Armstrong’s “First Man” and Sundance’s breakout “Whiplash” made big surprise appearances in their respective award runs.
Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, and Brad Pitt lead Babylon, among a stacked cast that includes Tobey Maguire, Jean Smart, Lee Jon Lee, and Jovan Adepo. Chazelle described the film as being inspired by Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”, Robert Altman’s “Nashville” and “The Godfather” – “old-school epics that manage, through a handful of characters, to convey a changing society”.
After showing some fear before the examination, diverse Awards editor Clayton Davis seemed to fall on the film’s admiring side, calling it a “high-octane” ride with the first half better than the second.
Los Angeles Film Critics Association member Ryan Swain was not at all impressed, saying that Chazelle “may be the most trusted director in Hollywood today, and of course he also has some of the worst instincts out there.”
diverse Senior Craftsman editor Jazz Tangkai praised the effort as “extraordinary filmmaking”, with additional kudos to the score by Robbie and Justin Horowitz.
Playlist writer Gregory Ellwood said the film “is best when it’s a straight comedy”, highlighting PItt and Adepo as a standout group.
Although there have been reactions on social media, Paramount has yet to set a blocking date for full reviews.
“Babylon” is set to hit theaters across North America on December 23rd. Paramount initially laid out plans to first release the film in a limited release on Christmas Day before expanding nationwide in early January. The studio’s decision to switch gears for a wide release has been interpreted as a sign of confidence in “Babylon”.
See more “Babylon” reactions below.
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