Time perhaps scrambling it's for Alejandro González Inárritu to stop his narratives. After making an exciting debut in 2000 with Amores Perros, the director apparently decided to devote his feature-film career to telling multi-part stories in initially disconnected fragments. In theory, it's an ambitious gambit; in practice -- at least in this schematic new tract on the world's ills -- it reduces global unrest to a cosmic game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. In this kaleidoscopic study of tone-deaf culture collision and dislocation, a rifle links the fates of a Moroccan goat-herder's young sons (Said Tarchani and Boubker Ait El Caid), a grieving California couple (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett), a San Diego nanny (Adriana Barraza) stranded with her privileged charges, and a deaf-mute Tokyo schoolgirl (Rinto Kikuchi). The director and his longtime screenwriter, Guillermo Arriaga, mean to show the butterfly effects of American arrogance and post-9-11 solipsism throughout the world, but after a strong first hour, the movie settles for cheap ironies and climactic calamities rigged to unfold almost in unison. The result is conspiracy theory masquerading as humanism.
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Writer: Guillermo Arriaga
Producer: Jon Kilik and Steve Golin
Cast: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal, Koji Yakusho, Mahima Chaudhry, Jamie McBride, Shilpa Shetty, Lynsey Beauchamp, Paul Terrell Clayton and Fernandez Mattos Dulce