Monday, February 7, 2011


The title is misleading. Or at least it certainly doesn't apply to most aspects of Uxbal's life. He is currently the proprietor of two enterprises, one where he has African immigrants dealing drugs in the streets, the other of which he is profiting off of the employment of illegal Chinese immigrants. He is also a single father and finding ways to cope with the irrational manic depressive mother of his children who is also sleeping with his brother.  And he is dying of bone cancer. There is some beauty (biuty?) in his life and it is with his children whom he holds dearly, and hopes to establish a relationship with, which is something that he never had with his own parents. Biutiful is bleak material and it isn't a shock that it is directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, whose films are often somber. Inarritu is a director with fine technique who knows how to put a film together, but here again his self-importance gets in the way and the film comes off as heavy handed. This is his first film to be told from a linear timeline and the script seems like it is lacking material. Although it is not a wristwatch checking movie, there is not enough here to justify its 2.5 hour running length, though I could watch Javier Bardem for hours on end. Here, sporting a mullet and looking exhausted, he finds the right notes in what ultimately is a nuanced performance. He carries this bleak film along.