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The story of a man in free fall. On the road to redemption, darkness lights his way.
A heartbreakingly direct performance by Javier Bardem anchors Biutiful, a film from Mexican auteur Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, 21 Grams). Uxbal (Bardem) is not an admirable man: he's a criminal middleman, helping human traffickers and illicit street peddlers in Barcelona. But in the thick of his corrupt and compromised world, Uxbal strives to do some modest good: he demands heaters for the cold basement where illegal Chinese laborers sleep and he carefully scrapes together money for his children, whom he deeply adores. On top of all this, Uxbal can commune with the recently dead, and tries to pass on reassurance to the bereaved. When Uxbal himself is diagnosed with severe cancer, he desperately tries to leave behind something better for his children. This plot summary paints a bleak picture, and there's no question this is--much like Iñárritu's other films, including Amores Perros--an emotionally harrowing experience. But Biutiful is also visually rich and deeply humane, and holds moments of grace that can only be found in sadness and loss. The entire cast brings a fullness of life to all of the characters, no matter how briefly they appear, but Bardem almost never leaves the screen and carries the movie with magnetic force. --Bret Fetzer
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Top Customer Reviews
All this is portrayed in the life of Uxbal - at once a middleman for all sorts of illegal activity and a devoted father to two children whose mother is too unreliable to look after them. His imminent death forces him to look at his life and bring some sort of moral order to the chaos of his existence.
I simply can't agree with other reviewer's comments about over-complications and supposedly unnecessary additions. This 140 minutes speeds by as you are swept up in the final days of Uxbal - a less than perfect person trying to make the most of a less than perfect world. (The nightclub scene, for example, emphasises the essentially moral difference between Uxbal and his supposedly more respectable brother. The brother exploits `kids' sexually; Uxbal does everything to protect his kids and also some of the migrant workers he employs.)
Bardem has rightly been hailed for yet another outstanding performance - making us care about a deeply troubled character engaged in highly questionable activities. He brings out the quest for morality and spiritual tranquility that Uxbal attempts to find in his chaotic life.
But ultimately the greatness of the movie rests on the director's unique vision. No-one makes films like Inarritu with their mix of comedy and tragedy, pointless brutality and spiritual sense - life, in other words. I laughed, I winced, I wept - I cared about the characters that he created. I enjoyed the moments of beauty he uncovered in this violent, brutish world we all share.Read more ›
Cancer, immigration, spirituality, death, greed, love, relationships, corruption, loyalty...just some of the themes in two hours or so of stunning film-making. Never over-sentimental, not cliche-ridden, the film hits on these issues directly yet sensitively. Heartbreakingly good acting from Javier Bardem (Uxbal) makes the film, his presence throughout a combination of gentle and tortured at the same time.
The film is raw yet sensitive, harsh yet tender....this is without doubt Alejandro González Iñárritu's darkest film to date yet there is hope within it. Wonderful photography and acting, issues dealt with head-on...all in all a terrific film.
Biutiful is consistent with Inarritu's other films which deal with the 'grittier' side of life. Bardem is a single father (separated) dealing with a personal illness while trying to make sure his children are taken care of.
Other people say the film is hard and depressing. Could be. But I think it's real, and attempts to show how/why people make bad decisions, but without justifying those choices.
Bardem is convincing in his performance.
I would watch it again.
I saw Inarritu's contemporary multicultural drama as a dark ode to current European condition ,but it also dispays a very humane side to European psyche which is an optimistic streak enbedded in it's main character, the script has no black or white characters but just humanity behaving as ordinary beings at large ,set in Spain with a wonderful social comment on current global human condition which i totally got immersed into though i find 'Javier Bardem 'can be harsh to watch on screen but here he shows a very diverse side of his talent , i was touched and moved both emotionally and spiritually and i will you must see this if you like powerful and realistic cinema which is both ingenious and innovative in technique and content .Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Prepare to have your heart cut out and cauterised slowly.....
Rarely have I been so moved. Utterly compelling work that is both disturbing and beautiful in turns. Read more
One of the best films if not the best ive seen. Compassionate, poetic, visually stunning and heart wrenching in equal measures. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dylma
What a movie! I couldn't sleep that much after watching it. It's emotionally and psychologically really challenging, from the whole immigration/illegal workers problem, to the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Laura79
This is a really good film, excellent acting, touching, just pure treatPublished 3 months ago by Ms. Z. Karimova
Not exactly a feel good movie but every frame is worth studying and every sound worth listening to. Impeccable casting and excellent direction leave this film in your heart long... Read morePublished 3 months ago by TK
I would give the most stars not to director Inarritu or even to Javier Bardem but to the production designer Brigitte Broch whose stunning work together with the the Mexican... Read morePublished 4 months ago by mysterioustraveller
The title of the film in a way sums it up - BEAUTIFUL but in an conventional way. A film mostly about love a mans will to do just in an unjust world. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sole Intent
This is a very moving film made by same director who made The Revenant.Published 5 months ago by Bassman