Biutiful, written by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Armando Bo and Nicolás Giacobone and directed by Iñárritu is relentlessly depressing and long, but does feature some wonderful acting courtesy of Javier Bardem.
Bardem stars as Uxbal, a man living on the edge of Barcelona society. Devoted father of two, separated from his mentally unstable wife, he makes ends meet by engaging in all kinds of low-level illegal activities. In the beginning of the film, Uxbal learns he has cancer and his shady busy dealings take on more urgency as he struggles to accumulate enough money to take care of his children and some of the other less fortunate in his life.
Biutiful, ironically titled, contains so many tragedies, it becomes hard to keep track and ultimately care. Parental separation, illegal labor practices, mental illness, immigration issues and death…each topic could be a movie unto itself. That one can even sit through more than two hours of one depressing topic after another is a tribute to every actor. The international cast is wonderful.
Told in a circular narrative, we really learn no more at the end than we did in the beginning of the film. Perhaps that is Biutiful’s ultimate tragedy.
2 nuggets out of 4