EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|BIUTIFUL (director/writer: Alejandro González Iñárritu; screenwriters: Armando Bo/Nicolás Giacobone/based on a story by Alejandro González Iñárritu; cinematographer: Rodrigo Prieto; editor: ; music: Gustavo Santaolalla; cast: (Uxbal), Maricel Álvarez (Marambra), Eduard Fernández (Tito), Diaryatou Daff (Igé), Cheng Tai Shen (Hai), Luo Jin (Liwei), Hanaa Bouchaib (Ana), Guillermo Estrella (Mateo); Runtime: 148; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Mr. González Iñárritu/Jon Kilik/Fernando Bovaira; Roadside Attractions; 2010)|
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Mexican director Alejandro
González Iñárritu ("Babel"/"21 Grams"/"Amores
Perros") films this one unlike his other ones shot
without a chronological order. Iñárritu cowrote
Biutiful with Armando Bo and Nicolás Giacobone, in chronological
and with a linear storyline. It's based on a story by Iñárritu. The director
with regular writer Guillermo Arriaga, after his latest films bombed. Its star Javier Bardem won the award for Best Actor
at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
Uxbal (Javier Bardem) is a divorced devoted father of a boy Mateo (Guillermo Estrella) and a girl Ana (Hanaa Bouchaib). They dwell in Barcelona (in the grimy
part, where tourists do not enter) and dad earns a living as a black-market
middleman paying off corrupt cops and responsible for keeping a watch
on illegal African street vendors and Chinese
migrant workers for Chinese sweatshop exploiters Hai (Cheng
Shen) and his younger boyfriend (Luo
Jin). Our kind-hearted
exploiter crook's ex-wife Marambra
suffers from a bipolar disorder and is incapable of caring for the
kids, so he was granted custody. Uxbal learns he has
prostrate cancer, which has been detected at a late stage and is
terminal--leaving him only a few months to live. After arrested by the
police in a raid, Uxbal finds himself in a financial pickle. Also his
brother Tito (Eduard
Fernández), who paid his bail, is sleeping with Marambra, which gives him
something else to ponder in his long list of woes. And, oh yeah, Uxbal
can make contact with the dead. He uses this gift to contact the
relatives of the recent deceased to give them encouraging messages from
the other side.
When the really bad shit
down, things turn into a Job-like test for the vulnerable Uxbal, who
must suffer for mankind's sins. Then this dreary, humorless pretentious
art film really starts to get on your nerves. Despite a few stunningly
beautiful shots by cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto's hand-held camera (like the
city police raid on the illegal African street hawkers) and Bardem's winning nuanced performance, this
melancholy tone poem strikes a wrong chord.
The cutesy title is derived
from Ana's misspelling. It's
attempt at a sympathetic liberal look at illegals during this post-globalization
have worked for some, but I found its ideas shallow
banal. That it's filled with more goo than the usual Hollywood
melodrama, left me
wondering if the talented
can ever get on track and live up to his potential as a filmmaker.
REVIEWED ON 4/4/2011 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ