Babylon A.D. and Noise released on DVD. Get Time Out's verdict on the latest discs to try this week
Stephen Garrett and Nigel Floyd
3/7 Dir Mathieu Kassovitz US (15+) Adapted from Maurice C Dantec’s cult 1999 novel Babylon Babies, this post-apocalyptic sci-fi film began life as un film de Mathieu Kassovitz (La Haine), but ended up as an overblown, over-budget vehicle for Vin Diesel. Hired by sleazy Russian gangster Gorsky (Gérard Depardieu) to deliver beautiful child prodigy Aurora to New York, cynical mercenary Toorop (Vin Diesel) braves foul weather, corrupt people-traffickers, base-jumping villains and drone attack planes.
Along for the ride is kick-ass nun Sister Rebecca (Michelle Yeoh), who keeps quiet about the custody battle involving Aurora’s ‘birth’ parents. Her scientist father (Lambert Wilson) genetically manipulated his own unborn daughter to create the first superhuman; her mother (Charlotte Rampling), now the head of a New Age religious cult, plans to present the girl as the new Messiah. Unfortunately, a Matrix-style shoot-out offers a glib, violent solution to what is otherwise an intriguing emotional conflict. Nigel Floyd Dhs85 from Virgin Megastore
4/7 Dir Henry Bean US (PG18) Urban, well-educated and affluent in its demographic, Noise takes on the very nature of civility – as articulated and defended by David Owen (Tim Robbins), a rich white Manhattan lawyer. His pent-up rage toward city noise in general and Klaxon-like car alarms specifically builds with such pressure-cooker intensity that serial vandalism comes with swift, vein-popping glee. David christens himself ‘the Rectifier’, earning the ire of the mayor (William Hurt) and the folksy respect of hoi polloi. It all unfolds with tongue firmly in cheek, yet the white-hot apoplexy bubbling throughout would make Howard Beale proud.
David’s fight-the-system vigilantism and the exasperated reality checks from his wife (Bridget Moynahan) feel like dramatic convention grafted over sociological agenda. But as he showed in The Believer (starring Ryan Gosling as a neo-Nazi Jew), Bean uses filmmaking more as a tool for discourse than a vehicle for verisimilitude. Then again, the corollary to civility is class, and Noise flirts with that issue rather than embracing it. Robbins’s lawyer is akin to Bernhard Goetz and Travis Bickle – but their violent outbursts were acts of true desperation in the face of social decay, while Noise measures its annoyance in a world of privilege. Everyone is entitled to complain, but some plights are less sympathetic than others. Stephen Garrett Dhs85 from Virgin Megastore