"Two and a half stars (R)

Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Adriana Barraza, Rinko Kikuchi

In the mood for a two-hour, 22-minute, international multistory bummer? The third feature-length collaboration between director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and writer Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, 21 Grams) weaves together several plotlines related to the accidental shooting of a tourist in Morocco, hopping back and forth in time along the way because, hey, that’s what you do when you’re edgy. The stories in Babel are involving, but each grinds on long after making their points. It’s easy to care about the characters and their situations, but as a whole, the movie comes off as a stylish, but belabored exercise in misery for the sake of misery. Up for several Oscars, including Best Picture, which mystifies me. 142 minutes. DVD INFO: No extras, which means that a features-packed “Special Edition” will likely turn up in a few months. —EJO

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