Brooklyn Babylon (2001) from Tuna

Brooklyn Babylon (2001) is yet another Romeo and Juliet star-crossed lovers story, this time set in Brooklyn in adjacent black and Jewish neighborhoods. Juliet, played to perfection by Karen Goberman, is a Jewish American Princess from an orthodox family, engaged to a militant and thug-like Jew. She would prefer to attend college. Romeo is a Rastafarian rap star (played by Tariq Trotter). The literally bump into each other when the cars each are riding in collide at an intersection. It is obvious that racial tension is high, and it is against this backdrop that the two become acquainted and fall in love. 


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DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen 

  • no meaningful features

The film actively stresses cultural differences, but, by the way it is cut, also shows the similarities. For example, we cut back and forth between a club where Solomon (Trotter) is rapping and everyone is dancing, and a Jewish wedding with chanting, and dancing, showing the parallels. If you like hip-hop, the sound track is a keeper, and Trotter is performing through much of the film. Goberman is either a Brooklyn Jewish American Princess who was type cast, or is a very promising young actress, or both. She has a short love scene with Trotter that is nothing but double exposure, cross fades and the like. There are some breast shots in the jumble.

It is watchable, with some good points, and production values are good. The DVD is bare bones.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two stars. 2/5, Apollo 69/100.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. Ten articles on file. 50% positive

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.4, Apollo users 28/100 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description,  it is a solid drama, which will appeal to fans of the music as well, but probably won't win many converts from the comedy or action lovers, so this film is a C.

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