. . . The sheer sensory exuberance of the film at once subverts the fatalism of its story and lends it whatever credibility it has. On paper, very little of it makes sense, but what is on screen has an almost physical impact. In the end “Babel,” like that tower in the book of Genesis, is a grand wreck, an incomplete monument to its own limitless ambition. But it is there, on the landscape, a startling and imposing reality. It’s a folly, and also, perversely, a wonder.