"Babel" represents director Alejanrdo Gonzalez Iñárritu's conclusion to a trilogy that begins with "Amores Perros" and continues with "21 Grams". That being said, if you have seen either of those films and did not like them, it is probably fair to assume that you will not like "Babel" either. Thematically and stylistically, this film continues in the same direction, but increases in scope, illustrating that one incident can trigger a devastating series of events all around the globe.
Like "21 Grams", "Babel" is constructed as a puzzle, with different pieces transpiring during different times and in different places. Many viewers will no doubt see similarities to Paul Haggis' "Crash" which explores similar issues; however Iñárritu's piece places more emphasis on human emotion and requires the viewer to be much more participative in the interpretation of themes and ideas.
The film is set into motion when the young sons of a Moroccan goat herder get careless with a new rifle and accidentally shoot an American tourist (Cate Blanchett) traveling with her husband (Brad Pitt). This one act sets off a series of tragedies with global implications. American officials interpret this as an act of terrorism and of course the media reflects this accordingly. There is a story of the couple's undocumented nanny who juggles taking care of their kids while attending her own son's wedding in Mexico. In my favorite story, a deaf Japanese girl (Rinko Kikuchi) struggles with her mother's recent suicide and a father who is emotionally distant. This story doesn't reveal its connection to the others until late in the film, but it is undoubtedly the most poignant.
At its core, "Babel" is about the difficulty of human communication and even though stories unfold in four different countries and in five languages (English, Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, and Sign); language is far from the principal obstacle. This film is more concerned with cultural assumptions and biases that tend to obscure reality and how our perceived differences keep us from connecting to each other. There are many reasons to recommend "Babel", but most of all because of its astounding ability to cope with issues of global importance while also presenting characters whose individual struggles are no less compelling.