Fire In Babylon

"Good"

Fire In Babylon Review


This documentary about the 1970s-1980s West Indies cricket team may seem like it would be specific for fans of the sport. But by looking at the bigger picture, the film finds a lot to say about the world beyond the sport.

In the late 1970s, the West Indies team developed an iconic style of playing that would dominate the sport for the next 15 years, the longest winning streak in any sport. And this spark was a massive blow to racial tensions around the world, most notably for their former colonial rulers in Great Britain. The story is told completely from the perspective of the West Indians themselves, with lively anecdotes, pointed observations and, of course, great music.

Shot in vivid colours and edited with a bright sense of Caribbean style, the film has an enjoyably offhanded island tone that's hugely engaging, especially since the guys who are sharing their experiences all have big smiley personalities. Their narration is never remotely dry, packed with telling observations and comical asides as they discuss both their triumphs and some very difficult challenges along the way.

The film also has a sense of history to it, tracing the origins of West Indian culture and how the colonists used cricket as a way to "tame the natives", even though the African slaves were no more native than they were. So when these island nations achieved independence, the sport became a way they could prove to their former masters that they were just as good at it, if not better.

While the film is fascinating even if you know nothing about cricket, the kaleidoscopic editing loses us, jumping around between the guys talking and extensive archive footage, wandering down sideroads into a wide variety of themes and events. With so many people seemingly talking at once, it's rather overwhelming. But key elements stick, most notably the exploration of racism and violence on the pitch, controversial incidents that took place on various tours (including a scandalous trip to South Africa during the Apartheid years) and the way these players made the world see them as winners through sheer force of will. Indeed, they were one of the greatest teams ever. In any sport.



Fire In Babylon

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd July 2011

Distributed by: Tribeca Films

Production compaines: Cowboy Films, E & G Prouctions, ECN Motion Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Fresh: 20 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Stevan Riley

Producer: , Charles Steel

Starring: Ian Botham as Himself (archive footage), Colin Croft as Himself, Jeffery Dujon as Himself, Joel Garner as Himself, Lance Gibbs as Himself

Also starring:

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