Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Man on Film: Biutiful

If you have seen Alejandro González Iñárritu's other three feature-length directorial efforts, you likely understand what you are getting into with Biutiful. If one were to list Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel's shared traits, it would be that they are visually arresting, often bleak, and run perhaps a little long. While I happen to like those three films, I wouldn't necessarily cite the third trait as a strength, and the second limits his films' rewatchability. 

On Blu-ray May 31st
Biutiful marks the first feature that he has done since his public falling out with scribe Guillermo Arriaga, who got up on his soap box about authorship of films in the ramp-up to the Oscars when Babel was nominated for seven awards. While I happen to love Arriaga's work, both with Iñárritu* and without him, it is a little refreshing to see something different from Iñárritu himself. 

*The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada may have been my favorite movie of the past decade. 

Citing his father's life as inspiration for this film, this is clearly a very personal film for Iñárritu. More than any of his previous works, there are truly heartwrenching moments in this film. Uxbal, played to perfection by Javier Bardem, is a father of two in Barcelona living on the fringe, hustling to make a dime in morally ambiguous ways, and trying to get his affairs in order as terminal cancer is bearing down on him. As he scrambles to leave something for his two young children while their mother's grip on life loosens at every turn, your heart breaks. 

The film is deeply affective, in spite of its length. Bardem alone should get you excited about watching this film, as there are not many in the acting game who are as consistently amazing as he is. Uxbal is far from perfect and isn't above exploitation to serve his own benefit, but Alejandro González Iñárritu's world in film is not one of black and white. 

A quick formatting note, I updated the site to include the Amazon Associates widget. There will be links in some of the entries now. Apologies if this is a turn-off. I assure you, this will not affect what I write at all. 

And don't look now, but there are already three entries written for this week, and I'm starting another.

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