Tales of Babylon, an Indie dark crime comedy by Pelayo De Lario, is a testament to why I love cinema. Pelayo de Lario is not yet an established name in the industry, but I have a feeling that it’s going to happen very soon. This movie is also a reason why I like British humor. Well, I’m not going to lie, British humor can be pretty disturbing and even very contextual, but it’s also quite eccentric and deadpan nonetheless. Perhaps the most accurate word to describe this form of humor would be ‘cheeky.’ Coming back to this movie, one can’t help but draw similarities between Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, Taratino’s Pulp Fiction, and Pelayo De Lario’s Tales of Babylon. As a matter of fact, one of the characters quite openly breaks the fourth wall by referring to Pulp Fiction during a scene that was very clearly inspired by Pulp Fiction. But here’s the thing: despite its ‘inspirations,’ Pelayo’s Tales of Babylon is a work of art; it is quite violent, and I am not a fan of violence in movies unless guys like Martin McDonagh and Pelayo De Lario do it right. The theme of the movie I felt was quite similar to In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. I think these movies have done a very good job of provoking us to think about morality, especially in the face of raging insanity. A rather philosophical problem in this movie is: Where’s the line between right and wrong when there’s a greater evil standing in front of us?
Who Are X And Y, And Why Are They Looking For Alex?
While there isn’t one protagonist in Tales of Babylon, X and Y are two of the four main characters that this movie revolves around. X is a caucasian British man, er, manchild, but honestly, he is a child in a man’s body who is also a hitman, and boy does he have mommy issues, as he used to refer to his previous partner, Svetlana, as ‘Mom.’ I think this just made us empathize more with him, as it’s quite reflective of how bad men become bad in the first place. He also has anger issues and prefers not to take life seriously. After all, being in his line of business surely takes a toll somewhat making his behavior quite unpredictable.
Y is his partner, a British man of African descent, who, in contrast to X, has a very composed temperament. He is thoughtful and sticks to his morals. I suppose that in the criminal world, morality is like a spectrum, and people who survive on this side of society lie all over this spectrum. Introduced at the beginning of the movie, X and Y arrive at Alex’s apartment, only to find other people there. After not being able to track down Alex’s whereabouts, a gunfight breaks out, and X kills the gangsters in cold blood. When they find a girl in the bathroom, Y reveals that he’s a friend of her brother, Alex. Y requests that X look after the girl while he waits for the ‘cleaning’ crew to get rid of the body. Even though X is initially reluctant to babysit the girl, he ends up connecting with her like a sibling. It turns out they were looking for Alex to help him protect his younger sister from their grandfather, the Silver Dragon.
Who Is Mother Nature?
In this complex dark comedy, another key character is Mother Nature. She’s an eye patch-wearing hitwoman employed by The Silver Dragon, a notorious drug lord. In her introduction scene, she pays a visit to Mr. Richter, an old associate of the crime boss who is also apparently married to his daughter. When his daughter goes missing, the old man blames Richter for her disappearance, sending Mother Nature to take Richter out. Interestingly, Mother Nature’s alias fits her well, as she prefers injecting her victims with poison, making their deaths appear natural. It is revealed later that Mother Nature is X’s previous partner, Svetlana, who he thought had died five years ago after a violent confrontation where Y shot her, an incident that cost her left eye.
Why Do Alex And His Grandfather Have A Feud?
Alex is the grandson of the drug lord, Silver Dragon. Alex has had a tough upbringing because of his grandfather’s influence over his life. Five years ago, Alex’s life had been spiraling out of control as he was peddling cocaine procured by his friend Michael, which his grandfather did not approve of. When the old man found out that Michael was stealing the cocaine from him, he sent Svetlana to execute Michael, which infuriated Alex. His grandfather has had an unhealthy obsession with his mother; he did not even approve of his parents’ marriage either. The old man did not like his grandson because he was born out of a marriage he did not approve of. When Alex’s mother goes missing, the old man sends The Professional, another hitman on his payroll, to abduct Alex and get his mother’s location out of him. Additionally, The Silver Dragon sends his men to bring him his granddaughter, as the old man wants to raise the girl himself, believing that he failed his daughter by not being strict enough. This prompts Alex to rebel against his grandfather to protect his younger sister, and in doing so, he seeks the help of X and Y.
Who Is Martin?
Martin’s story, as shown at the very beginning of Tales of Babylon, is that of a depressed underdog who is bullied by the local thugs in his neighborhood. He works at a pub, where he is exploited by his boss. He has a rather monotonous and stagnant life. It seems life has been unfair towards Martin, but since he has nobody to express his frustrations to, he suppresses it all. One day, while scraping off bird droppings on the wall outside his house, one of the thugs started bullying him again, forcing him to eat the filth at gunpoint. Triggered by the bullying, Michael unleashes his wrath, killing the bully with the scrapper. When his friends find his body, they break into Martin’s house to kill him, but Martin kills them as well. After killing his exploitative boss, Martin runs into X, whom he identifies as a criminal when the latter disrespects him. Martin, therefore, decides to pursue X throughout the day to eventually get rid of him. Martin takes it upon himself to cleanse the world of evil.
Why Does Svetlana Turn Against The Silver Dragon?
After the tragic shooting five years ago, Silver Dragon made the decision to eliminate X because of his erratic behavior. However, X was spared by Jonas, one of Silver Dragon’s most trusted associates. Yet, when Silver Dragon discovered that X was still alive, he retaliated by killing Jonas. Meanwhile, Svetlana, believing her partner had perished in the incident that cost her an eye, adopted the alias ‘Mother Nature’ in honor of X, who used to affectionately refer to her as mother. Additionally, Silver Dragon deceived Svetlana about the circumstances of her survival, concealing the fact that it was Y and Alex who had intervened to save her life with Jonas’s help.
Alex, X, and Y devise a plan to seek their freedom by negotiating with Alex’s grandfather at a warehouse. Although initially standing by the old man, Svetlana becomes disillusioned when she witnesses his mistreatment of a young girl and realizes she has been deceived by him. Motivated to take action, she plays a pivotal role during the final confrontation with Martin and the other people. Svetlana ultimately ends the old man’s reign of terror by fatally shooting him, while bringing closure to the ordeal.
What Happens To The Characters In The End?
With Silver Dragon, The Professional, and Martin now dead, the remaining characters breathe a collective sigh of relief. X decides it’s time for a well-deserved retirement, perhaps in Barbados, a destination he had always longed to visit. Meanwhile, Alex, Y, and Svetlana opt to stay behind to tie up loose ends. As X walks, Y decides to accompany him, suggesting a possible romantic connection between them. This suggestion of romance has been subtly hinted at throughout Tales of Babylon, adding another layer of depth to their relationship.
The death of Silver Dragon, at the end of Tales of Babylon, leaves a power vacuum that could attract unwanted attention or threats from those seeking to exploit the old man’s legacy. This is particularly concerning given that Alex and The Girl are the sole surviving family members, making them potential targets for retaliation. Although it’s doubtful that these characters will abandon their violent tendencies, the group should still be safer without Silver Dragon’s influence looming over them, bringing us to a happy ending for people who do not usually have one. Director Pelayo De Lario did mention that he made this movie as an homage to the bustling city of London and how it connects people of different ethnicities and cultures.