Monday, 14 February 2011


Biutiful is the latest film offering from Mr I Hate Life himself, Alejandro González Iñárritu. The film depicts the story of criminal go-to man Uxbal (Javier Bardem), and his road to redemption before succumbing to a very vicious type of cancer. Moving back to his native language after the criminally underrated Babel, Iñárritu has also taken charge of scriptwriting duties. Given that Iñárritu has never written for a whole feature before, it might explain why the film feels a bit messy in places. For example, the plot is a bloated mix of themes and ideas; from family drama, to crime, to immigration, to existentialism, to death, to the supernatural.

He sees dead people... occasionally.

With a running time of 148 minutes it tries to cram as much thought-provoking scenes of desperation and loss as it can, yet a lot of the film seems rather irrelevant. In particular, the lengthy scenes of him wheeling and dealing with the criminal underworld could have been easily removed without any significant loss to the coherence of the plot. What is good, however, is the family relationship at the heart of the film, and Uxbal's spiritual connection with his dead father. In fact, the best scenes are the first and last of the film - the other scenes just seem like filler.

There are moments of absolute beauty (or biuty) thanks to some impressive cinematography, and needless to say Javier Bardem shines as the flawed protagonist. But it just wasn't enough to warrant 2 and a half hours of utter bleakness. Plus Javier's hair hasn't improved since No Country...

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