I still can't get how a film with such a sloppy plot and stilted dialogue could get nominated for an Oscar. It was trying to make a commendable point (the world is a Babel), but how can you take seriously a movie that's like "Your embassy called off the ambulance." "The Moroccan government won't allow us to use their airspace." "You've got to do this, Amelia." Next thing you know, I'm tramping through the desert in high heels. And who the hell was in charge of continuity?
It was compelling, sure, because you're like, what's going to happen next? How is this going to unravel? Then, blah. Pfft! The chronological re-ordering was simply pretentious. If it weren't for the superb acting, this movie would be comical.
Only one scene resonated with me, and that was where the border guard was being a total prick to Santiago (Gael García Bernal). Try crossing from Tijuana to San Diego with a Hispanic face; it's degrading and you have no choice but to grin and bear it.
Because of that scene, I can't be stingier than three stars out of five. And a big shout out to Gustavo Santaolalla who mollified me with his score.