Review of Babylon

Babylon (2014)
8/10
Smart satire for smart people
22 April 2014
This is not for everyone. But nothing worthwhile ever is. If you have no sense of humour, if you live in Britain and feel threatened by the portrayal of the Metropolitan Police as a bunch of ignorant, prejudiced Neanderthals, if you are American and have no sense of irony then this is not for you. As a Brit who's made Los Angeles his home, I loved it. It rings horribly true. But then, I don't read the Daily Telegraph. Brit Marling is worth her weight in gold. Casting got it right and direction only endorsed it. She plays the perfect foil to the wonderfully stereotypical Brits. The best satire is grounded in the truth. I was heavily involved in the music business in 1984 when This Is Spinal Tap was released and it was frighteningly accurate. I feel the same way about Babylon and that should be cause for concern for every citizen of Britain. How well this will translate into a series remains to be seen but for the moment, I'm glad I can enjoy the joke from a distance.

ADDENDUM

Since I wrote my original review of the pilot, the series has come and gone. I've watched the first three episodes and want to change nothing I wrote. It's wonderful satire which will be fully appreciated only by those who have lived in England but its real genius lies in its tone. It's found the perfect balance. Nothing that happens is implausible, the tension is visceral and the emotions utterly grounded. But it's funny. Not laugh out loud funny but smart funny. Put a smile on your face when you remember it funny. Unless you still live in England or you are or were a policeman.
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