Five minutes into Babylon, there’s elephant sh*t all over the camera.
Before you’ve managed to get the shock value from all that effluent out of your system (you can almost smell it), you’re thrust into the bacchanalian madness of a Hollywood party.
Pretty much everyone is naked, there’s a narcotic buffet, and catatonic young women are being surreptitiously shuffled out of the back door – and everyone has work the next day.
This might be a Damien Chazelle picture, but we’re certainly not in La La Land anymore.
Babylon follows several decades of the movie business at a time of flux, with the studios having to abruptly change tack as the rise of the talkies leaves reliable cash cow silent pictures looking old, tired, and lacking in showbiz glamour. But wait, isn’t that the plot of Singin’ In The Rain?
It is, but that film never featured a scene in which Gene Kelly picks a fight with a rattlesnake. Unless they’ve kept that extended cut very quiet.
“The hope was to try to do justice to both sides of the [Hollywood] spectrum – the good and the bad – and ultimately do it in the most non-judgemental way possible”, Chazelle told Zavvi.
“Obviously I had my own feelings, being a part of the system myself, about both the glories Hollywood is capable of and the extreme cruelty too.
“Those mixed feelings wind up in the film. Hopefully, at the end of the day, it’s up to the audience to decide where they sit on the spectrum of celebration or condemnation.”
In the latest edition of our free digital magazine The Lowdown, Chazelle, stars Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, Jean Smart, and many more told us about the wild journey of bringing this movie to life.