Sunday, December 18, 2011
This DVD sat on my coffee table for six months because I just couldn't motivate myself to watch a subtitled film even though I normally enjoy foreign films. So with an open weekend I dropped it into the blu-ray player and enjoyed every moment of "Biutiful". The writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu deserved all of the award nominations the film received in 2010, which included the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and a Best Actor nomination for Javier Bardem.
Set in Barcelona, the film focuses on Uxbal (Javier Bardem), a man who is dealing with a recent diagnoses of terminal cancer, a troubled relationship with his abusive/depressed ex-wife, his ties to local criminal activities and through all of it he shows the strength and love for his children Mateo (Guillermo Estrella) and Ana (Hanaa Bouchaib). Everything Uxbal is doing is with the best interest of his children in mind so that they don't have to live the life that he has. He wants a better life for them and recognizes that through his friend Ige (Diaryatou Daff) that he can do right in helping a friend and protecting his children. Even though it isn't quite this simple, you (the audience) have to have that hope in the end and that part of the journey is that you want the kids to end up with Ige even though she is a stranger.
This is still a very long film that could have been helped by a little more editing and a shorter script. Some have applauded Inarritu for what is considered a simpler script. However, the crime involvement shows that Uxbal is willing to do whatever it takes to provide a better life for his children and helps contribute to show the compassion that he has, but those could have been accomplished in other ways. If you can have the patience to sit through the 148 minutes you will be rewarded with an amazing performance from Javier Bardem.
The film is visually beautiful and the performances are well done, which help one to look past the longer run time. "Biutiful" falls just short and finishes as a 4 Quack film.