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Review: ‘Babylon,’ a legendary look at South London’s reggae scene, finally gets a U.S. release

The cast’s rumble and spark are draw enough, but there’s also Chris Menges’ textured urban cinematography and Rosso’s empathetic direction, like neorealism rewired and amplified. Even the subtitles for the slang-riddled Jamaican patois (considered too thick originally for moviegoers) are a cultural statement: They educate as they translate. Dennis Bovell’s reggae soundtrack, however, is a master class of mood — a sonic heartbeat full of joy, pain and fury, the needle drops like matches struck and the music an insistent, scented flame you hear, see and feel.