“Biutiful”, Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

November 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Javier Bardem commands the screen from start to finish in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s, “Biutiful”. Unlike “Babel” (the director’s previous film) “Biutiful” revolves around a single character—Uxbal, a man as complicated and compelling as “Biutiful” itself. The film is by all means a tragedy, and Bardem plays the part with the heavy melancholy it necessitates. A dark cloud hovers over the entire film as Uxbal fights disease, politics and family. Destiny has him on a downward spiral as he grapples with being a good father in a harsh world, but the film soars in the rare, “Biutiful” moments that appear unexpectedly, making the rest of the film all the more heartbreaking.  These moments are the instances of joy in Uxbal’s life. One connects with the protagonist in this way; if Uxbal is happy, we are happy. His children are the light in his life, and when they’re on screen the scene is sure to be compelling.

What makes “Biutiful” so moving is that it’s a work of realism. Far from being a melodrama, the film feels like an important slice in the life of a complicated man, one that even if on his way down, is incredibly hard not to watch. Bardem succeeds in being the tragic antihero González Iñárritu created. A tragedy moves an audience because the hero is flawed and at the mercy of something greater than himself. It’s hard not to sound obscure when describing “Biutuful,” as its structure mimics that of a classic tragedy. Fate plays a huge role in the life of Uxbal, and though realistic in terms of the relationships with the characters and its setting—the crime underbelly of Barcelona—the film doesn’t shy away from the metaphysical.

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