Damien Chazelle’s Babylon blends influences from Fellini to PTA to create a sprawling epic of the Jazz Age as cinema transitioned from silent to sound. Simultaneously a love letter to the power of the silver screen and a poison pen missive on the merciless business of filmmaking, the film follows three main characters as their careers are buffeted by changing circumstance.
Aspiring starlet Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie, never better) crashes an industry party-cum-orgy also attended by the biggest star of the day, Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt), while industry hopeful Manny (Diego Calva) toils anonymously in the background to ensure that nothing interferes with the guests’s hedonism. From this time forward, the three’s lives and struggles are intertwined as their stars rise, fall, and rise again. Featuring any number of scene-stealing cameos (Tobey Maguire’s stands out), Babylon is hugely entertaining.