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"Okay, I have to admit, I bought the DVD only because Black Thought was on the cover. Being the huge Roots fan that I am, I felt obligated to give it a viewing. I was not greatly impressed with the script until I considered the source, Bonz Malone (he plays Scratch in the film.) The original script was only 10 or so pages long, meaning that a lot of the dialogue is improvised and it feels that way. Tariq does hold his own as does the female lead, to me, the "supporting" cast is where the film folds up shop. This is a great film that can be used in an educational setting perhaps in a Social Studies class. Reason being because it focusing in on tolerance and helps to bring to light some of the parallels that the two waring fractions have in common. This is best demonstrated during the dinner scene at Sara's house. At any rate, I guess I have to justify my rating of four stars. Two stars because of the soundtrack alone, which by the way is not available (what a pity). The other two stars are earned because of what it is trying to convey; despite the differences that society has being focused on for eons, we still have more things in common, one of which is the ability to love. Just give it a viewing if you know someone who owns the movie and make your own decision. That is my two cents worth."
Tom Murray | Philadelphia, PA USA | 02/24/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is an independent film about forbidden love and the ensuing violent cultural clashes between Brooklyn's African-American and Jewish Communities. The storyline is somewhat predictable, but the film's musical score, detailed cinematography, and suprisingly decent acting make it a worthwhile watch. The chemistry between the main characters Sol (Tariq Trotter) and Sara (Karen Goberman), was not entirely believable, and the acting by the secondary actors could have used some touching up. Allusions to Ancient Babylon and King Solomon's Empire put an interesting twist on the story. You will see visually spectacular footage of Brooklyn's Carribean Festival (a kind of Mardi Gras celebration). If you've never seen or heard the Roots perform, you are in for a treat. They present an evocative style of Hip-Hop, without relying on those played out themes (i.e. money, sex, violence). The sound they create is truly organic and full of musical integrity. Yes, we've seen forbidden love stories before, but none quite like this."
Most of you seem to miss the underlying point
nazaright | Springfield MA | 07/04/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I find it shocking that almost everyone saw this as a retread of the Romeo & Juliet or West Side Story kind of forbidden love tale when the device the plot actually hinges on is the Biblical Song Of Solomon and the Ethiopian legend of Solomon & Sheba. The story and plot follow the story told in the Song Of Solomon much more than they do Romeo & Juliet. As a Jewish man, who happens to be a hip-hop artist, that is married to a Jamaican Rastafarian Brooklynite woman, maybe I found this story just way too irresistable.No Brooklyn Babylon isn't a cinematic classic, but it beats almost everything else geared towards the young urban demographic with it's intelligence & relatability."
Wheres The Soundtrack?
supastar | brooklyn | 06/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent music, excellent performances by the roots and even Spragga Benz, I'd like to get the soundtrack if its available. The story bases itself loosely around the Song of Solomon, and lets you know of how the rastas see themselves as descendant of Solomon (jewish king) and Sheba. The garden scene and others all mirror that earliest and greatest of love poems, and that's where the narrator gets his stuff from. I thought the movie was better than most people did, maybe a little cliche, but well acted, not overacted, and just good to watch, good brooklyn scenes. Even the cameos are well done (slick rick)."
Easy going, mellow and likable in that fashion.
SteppingRZA | USA | 06/01/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have to disagree with the first reviewer.This film is easy going, mellow and uncomplicated. In other words, it's realistic in its simplicity.Sure, the Romeo and Juliet storyline has been done many times before, and "Brooklyn Babylon" isn't some grand retelling of R & J.And that's why it's strong.Unlike "Romeo + Juliet" and "Romeo Must Die" this film doesn't rely on flair, flash and occasional overacting to drive the story.The relationship between the two leads is believable and yes, while at first, it's the differences between them that attracts them to each other, when you break it down, they love each other DESPITE those differences.And they do make a good couple on screen. The pairing of Tariq Trotter and Karen Goberman is much more believable than that of DiCaprio-Danes and Jet Li-Aaliyah in their respective movies.At first, I thought the ending was too abrupt, but after I let the film sink in, I grew to appreciate its symbolism.At the very least, if you're a Romeo and Juliet fan, rent this movie. Approach the film with an open-mind, not with that of a professional critic or with the mindset of someone looking for the meaning of life and the question of why we are here.It does have insight if you allow it to show you that."