From Glenn Erickson’s longish review of the new 4K Bluray of Damien Chazelle‘s Babylon, which streets today: “Babylon lives up to the crazy reports that accompanied its theatrical release last December — it’s a spectacular Hollywood history movie that ignores Hollywood history in favor of exaggerated orgies and drug use, as if Kenneth Anger’s bad gossip were just the tip of the scandal iceberg.

“In entertainment terms it’s a 188-minute gross-out that wants to be shocking but is mainly unpleasant. Anachronistic profanity is non-stop, but the dealbreaker comes in the very first scene with an enormous, diarrhetic elephant whose bodily eliminations rival Noah’s Flood. Margot Robbie is a dynamo and Brad Pitt as charming as ever, but the movie overall is ideal only for the curious and the masochistic.

Babylon, in short, is oppressively off-putting, and no deep thought is required to explain why it wasn’t a hit. Word of mouth likely did the job, as most audiences would find it unpleasant at best and at worst intolerable. Personal tastes vary, but I know nobody who would think the movie’s excesses are entertaining. If I were to take a date to this picture, within three minutes I’d be telling the person, ‘it’s perfectly okay if you want to walk out right now.’ Babylon may do much better on disc and streaming than it did in theaters — a lot of moviegoers out there are curious.”

The HE community is encouraged to read Erickson’s entire essay.

Posted by yours truly on 11.17.22: