In 2016, Damien Chazelle, hot off the success of his critically-acclaimed Academy Award®-winning film WHIPLASH, took audiences to the clubs, parks, and twilight-lit streets of Los Angeles in the much lauded LA LA LAND. Now, six years and one movie — FIRST MAN — later, Chazelle is once again preparing to start another journey in the City of Angels. But this time instead of a story about an aspiring actress and struggling jazz pianist finding love under a neon moon, we will be taken to the manic and flashy world of Hollywood in the “Roaring Twenties” with all its glitz, glamor, and chaos.
Ahead of the film’s debut, which is slated for a limited release in AMC Theatres this December before going nationwide in January 2023, Chazelle and Paramount Pictures gave the world a brief glimpse into the movie with the chaotic and eye-popping BABYLON trailer. Below is a breakdown of the highs, lows, and all the in-betweens of the trailer featuring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Diego Calva, who plays a young actor looking to make a life in “Hollywoodland.”
Watch the trailer below:
Set In Hollywood During the 1920s
It seems like it has been ages since it was first announced that Damien Chazelle would transition from telling the story of that giant leap for humanity with FIRST MAN to the alcohol and drug-fueled world of 1920s Hollywood with BABYLON, and now the time has finally come for the world to see what he’s been up the past four years.
When the movie lands on the big screen, it will tell the story of Manny Torres (Calva), a struggling actor drawn to Hollywood to pursue a career in the movies. But like any good story, success won’t come easy for the wet-behind-the-ears new arrival as he has to work his way up the food chain as a lowly assistant. This will result in Torres crossing paths with some truly out-there characters like the hard-partying movie star Jack Conrad (Pitt) and aspiring actress Nellie LaRoy (Robbie).
The Babylon Trailer Brings The Chaos
Before showcasing any of the chaotic party scenes or film productions on busy Hollywood backlots, the BABYLON trailer starts with the long snort of someone ingesting what appears to be cocaine, as seen on the table sitting between Margot Robbie and Diego Calva’s characters. As Calva’s Manny Torres speeds up his speech describing what he wants out of life, flashes of the chaotic and frenzied movie that is to come fill the screen. And just before the scene ends, Robbie’s Nellie LaRoy says “I just want for everyone to party forever.”
That’s exactly what happens over the course of the next two minutes as the swinging jazz numbers, party-goers, and all kinds of madness give audiences a taste of what they'll be seeing in the film. If BABYLON is anything like the trailer, then it should play out like an even more over-the-top version of the 1920s that we’ve seen in the likes of THE GREAT GATSBY, SOME LIKE IT HOT, and THE ARTIST.
And then there’s Damien Chazelle’s longtime musical partner Justin Hurwitz, whose score highlights the madness of each of the scenes showcased in the trailer. Similar to how Hurwitz’s more slowed-down “City of Stars” set to the tone for the somber and dreamlike quality of LA LA LAND’s teaser, his chaotic big band number turns up the volume of the roaring BABYLON trailer.
The Eye-Popping Visuals Of The Babylon Trailer
In addition to being nearly two and a half minutes of pure chaos, the BABYLON trailer also features an equal amount of eye-popping visuals as it showcases brief glimpses into the film’s world andthe characters whose messy lives inhabit it. Whether it is showing the dazzling drug and champagne-fueled parties with dancing socialites brushing shoulders with the titans of film and crime or behind-the-scenes looks at massive Hollywood productions featuring armies, battles, and pure mayhem, the footage is undeniably beautiful.
Even in the less-than-epic scenes, the BABYLON trailer is frame after frame of beautiful artistry. Back again is Academy Award-winning cinematographer Linus Sandgren who works his magic with stunning camera angles while also using light better than just about anyone else. And this should come as no surprise considering what Sandgren and Chazelle were able to accomplish together, first with LA LA LAND and later on with FIRST MAN. If the rest of the footage looks half as good as the trailer, Sandgren could very well be leaving the awards season with another Oscar® in hand.
Make sure to check out the chaotic energy and eye-popping visual style of BABYLON, first in the film’s debut trailer, and then later on when Damien Chazelle’s latest feature film begins to roll out in AMC Theatres nationwide starting December 25, 2022.