Overall reviews for Damien Chazelle’s lascivious, big-budget 1920s film industry feature “Babylon” were very mixed, going by scores on critical aggregate sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, quite different to the high praise his “La La Land” and “First Man” received.
However, “Babylon” wasn’t a film people were “meh” on. Rather reviews from both critics and audiences were incredibly divisive, with some calling it a masterpiece, others an utter disaster, and not a lot in between. That’s partly why a film with such middling scores is still managing to make it onto the nomination lists of numerous award bodies.
With the $78 million-budget film now beginning its international rollout following lavish premieres in the UK and this week in Sydney, those involved are still talking up the film. The hope is it will find success globally after it failed to do in the United States, where its gross has been under $15 million.
Chazelle, speaking to Insider in the UK, is embracing the polarized response the film has received:
“It’s good to have something that stimulates conversation and debate and a lot of fierce opinions on either side. We all knew the movie was gonna ruffle some feathers and get some people mad, and I think that’s good. More movies should do that.
Everyone’s gonna have a different take on the film. And I think they’re all legitimate. It becomes the world’s movie, in a way. That’s why I sort of don’t really believe in – though I’m fine when people do it – filmmakers going back and tinkering after the fact and whatnot. I mean, it’s fine, but I do think, at a certain point, a movie represents a moment in time and a moment in history.”
Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Tobey Maguire and Diego Calva star in the project, which depicts Hollywood’s shift from silent movies to sound along with all the wild parties, sex, and depravity that came with it – packed into a roomy three-hour-plus runtime.
“Babylon” still hasn’t set a PVOD or SVOD release date as yet, though it’s expected to be sometime in February.