First Reformed director Paul Schrader is speaking critically of Damien Chazelle’s latest movie Babylon, accusing the 1920s historical drama of being poorly researched in a Christmas Eve Facebook post on his personal page.
“BABYLON is many things but well researched isn’t one of them,” Schrader wrote in the post. “After reading a number of planted articles about the filmmakers’ voluminous ‘research,’ I was scratching my head. Does any film historian agree [with] the film’s putative historicity?”
Chazelle’s Babylon opened on Friday, ultimately disappointing at the Christmas weekend box office with only $3.5 million in domestic sales.
Babylon stars Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Jean Smart, Diego Calva, Olivia Wilde, Phoebe Tonkin, Flea, and Toby Maguire. Described as “a tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess,” it follows several characters through their ups and downs in 1920s Hollywood.
Chazelle’s past films include La La Land, Whiplash, and First Man, the latter of which was also a 1960s historical and biographical drama about Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.
This isn’t the first time Schrader has taken a shot at another director. In a since-deleted 2019 Facebook post (via The Playlist), he called Dressed to Kill and Body Double director Brian De Palma “trite” and “artistically weak.”
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“Don’t get me started on Brian De Palma. I re-watched ‘Redacted’ last night because [I] thought that given total artistic freedom he could reach for the stars. And he did. But the stars were beyond his reach. The script is trite, it is weak. That’s because Brian is trite, Brian is artistically weak. Skate fast on thin ice. That’s his story. That’s his con,” Schrader wrote.
Paul Schrader is behind many films as both a screenwriter and a director. His directing history includes American Gigolo, Affliction, Dog Eat Dog, The Card Counter, and most recently, Master Gardener. He also wrote the script for Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Last Temptation of Christ.
See Schrader’s full Facebook post below.
Main Image: Brad Pitt as Jack Conrad and Diego Calva as Manny Torres in Paramount Pictures’ Babylon. Photo Credit: Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures.