Thursday, September 29, 2011


2006, R, 143 min.
IMDB says... Tragedy strikes a married couple on vacation in the Moroccan desert, touching off an interlocking story involving four different families.

The 73rd Virgin says...
Two ways to look at it, I guess. First - a movie about the unbelievable selfishness of adults and how their actions routinely destroy children. Or second - free rifles make bad things happen all over the world. I choose the first. Either way, this is heavy-handed but well-acted. At first I was put off by the conceit, but on reflection I like it more and more.

Two monstrously self-centered San Diego yuppies (Pitt and Blanchett), their abandoned children; the well-meaning but abandoned Mexican nanny; a monstrously self-centered Japanese woman who kills herself off-screen in a way that her deaf and lonely daughter will be the first to find her; and the woman’s disengaged businessman husband; a monstrously clueless Moroccan goat farmer who gives his sons a new rifle with no instruction as to what he has just handed them; all come together to ruin children’s lives or kill them as the case may be.

All potential tragedies begin with what little boys do the first time they are alone with a gun, they shoot at things, in this case a tour bus containing Pitt and Blanchett. The nanny back in San Diego agrees to keep the abandoned children, but she makes the seemingly reasonable decision to take them to her son’s wedding across the border with her drug-addled nephew at the wheel. The scenes at the wedding are a beautiful depiction of how the endless party so easily turns tragic just because there is no adult to say No.

And it goes on. My only plot point problem is how a wounded Blanchett can manage to sit on a bed pan in a filthy hut and roll around on the floor in pain, but can’t get back on the tour bus and go to the hospital for fear of bleeding to death. The most believable character is, oddly enough, the desperate, ignored Japanese teenager coming to grips with adult desires, teenage emotions, crushing guilt, and mourning. The kind-hearted police detective who intervenes on her behalf is the only likable adult in the movie. Wrenching and engaging if a bit fantastic.

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