Writes Peter Travers of Rolling Stone:
Some things never change. The gifted Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and his remarkable screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga - this film completes the brilliant trilogy they began with Amores Perros and 21 Grams - have applied the concept of Babel to the way we live now, in a world threatened by terrorism and divided by language, race, money and religion. Heavy going? Not if you want to see something extraordinary. In the year's richest, most complex and ultimately most heartbreaking film, Inarritu invites us to get past the babble of modern civilization and start listening to each other.
Todd McCarthy of Variety,
Parents and children cause an extraordinary amount of problems for one another in "Babel," a sweepingly ambitious epic of anxiety that tries to put its finger on an array of woes afflicting humanity in the early 21st century. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and writer Guillermo Arriaga's final entry in the trilogy that began with "Amores Perros" and continued with "21 Grams," new pic similarly features multiple intercut story strands, this time spread across three continents and, per the Biblical title, numerous languages. Effectively building dread and emotional tension as tragic incidents triggered by human stupidity and carelessness steadily multiply, this film, like "21 Grams" in particular, employs a deterministically grim mindset in the cause of its philosophical aspirations, but is gripping nearly all the way. Critical reactions will no doubt range fully across the map, much as they did with "Crash," which Paramount Vantage should be able to stir to its advantage in creating significant curiosity among American auds craving serious fare, and strong points of identification create real cross-over potential. International prospects are similarly promising.