A quick pre-Oscar review. I watched the movie on DVD last night. (I think I've officially stopped going to the movies. I can't stand movie theaters any more or the people who go to them.) Babel was a better movie than "The Queen" and "The Departed," although those two were also better than many Oscar winners in recent years. The reason? Its relentless realism, its contemporary relevance, the originality of a movie much of which is unintelligible (did Gibson start this trend?), and its performances, primarily Rinko Kikuchi's. The small and large tragedies of human miscommunication in a globalized world - this is one of  the great themes of our time, and it was explored with subtlety, urgency, and depth. It was the first movie depiction of a circuit party that did any justice to the experience (and it was in a straight club in Japan). I doubt it will win - because it's much too much like last year's winer, "Crash." But I was expecting some dreary p.c. Pitt/Blanchett vehicle. Man, was I wrong.