Film Review: Biutiful
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Throughout his filmmaking career, Alejandro González Iñárritu has asserted himself as a commentator on our modern condition. From Mexico in Amores Perros to California in 21 Grams and worldwide in Babel, his films at times lapse into self-importance at the expense of compelling storytelling, but map out a blueprint of social architecture and the misery that permeates twenty-first-century existence. Here in Barcelona, separated from writing partner Guillermo Arriaga, the director abandons the multiple timelines and interweaved narratives for a more linear storyline, focussing on a single character and location; shooting up-close on handheld cameras, bathing each scene in deep blues and warm orange tones. Make no mistake though, the now-solo Iñárritu has lost none of his penchant for revelling in human tragedy. Uxbal (Bardem), a small time black market grifter, is diagnosed with very advanced prostate cancer. With barely two months to live he desperately tries to ensure his children's well-being before the time comes. The tragedy is accented by the fact that Uxbal is a medium with the ability to communicate with the dead, who whisper to him the regrets that keep them in this world.
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