Preview: 'Babylon' (2022) and the moral decay of Old Hollywood.

Adorned with a cast of famous faces, we get our first look at the 3 hour film

Matthew Barratt
11th November 2022
Image courtesy of @DiscussingFilm on Twitter
Debauchery, degeneracy and depravity, Damien Chazelle’s upcoming three-hour epic follows the materialistic immorality of Hollywood in the 1920s. Looking at the Official Trailer, Chazelle isn’t holding anything back in terms of both the film’s content and its presentation, leaning completely into the film’s decadent excess in its entirety.

Indulgence is the key takeaway from the trailer from Chazelle’s film. Sporting a reputable ensemble cast of A-list actors such as Brad Pitt (Fight Club, Tree of Life, Se7en), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya, The Suicide Squad, Amsterdam) and Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man, The Great Gatsby, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), Babylon sports an equally large budget, delivered in the film’s impressive production design. This is a far cry from the earlier work of Chazelle; the grounded scale of Whiplash (2014) for example. However, as Chazelle’s repertoire has grown over the short span of his career, he has directed his attention towards more the cinematically ambitious features of La La Land (2016) or First Man (2018). Considering this, Babylon seems like the logical cinematic step forward.

In the case of Babylon, its apparent from the trailer that it’s large scale and overly stylized presentation evokes that of Luhrmann’s adaptation, The Great Gatsby (2013), albeit an R-rated exploration into the excesses of American 1920s consumerism. With this in consideration, Chazelle may run the risk of overloading Babylon into an excessively bloated film, one that prioritizes its style over substance.

That being said, its difficult not to see the appeal of Babylon; a star-studded amalgamation of The Great Gatsby and Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America, (1984) making it an intriguingly ambitious upcoming feature.

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