The film showed me things I never expected to see:
- A Barcelona with so many Chinese & African immigrants
- Javier Bardem wearing Depends
- His haircut is only a skosh better than the one he wore in "No Country for Old Men"
But was this a film worth seeing? I thought so. We are still talking about it a day later. What is it about? The DH asked me this before the film started. I said: "Sex, money, violence, you know - life. And it's ironic."
It is about all those things, plus honesty, survival, hope, trust, trying to do the right thing, and death.
Bardem plays the main character, Uxbal, who first appears to us as a shady go-between who deals with a Chinese sweatshop owner, African immigrant hawkers and pays off the police. But we learn he is also dealing with cancer, and being paid for relaying to survivors the words of their loved ones. Yes, he sees dead people. He is also trying raising his children.
Some of the film is excruciatingly slow, as the camera lingers on Bardem's nostril, or the ceiling in his bedroom. There's only one "action" scene, and it's over quickly and with a bad result for Uxbal.
See the film if you're:
- A Javier Bardem fan or
- An admirer of director Alejandro González Iñárritu. The other film of his that I've seen is "Babel" - very un-Hollywood and thought-provoking. Iñárritu is one of the triad of very talented Mexican directors. The other two are Alfonso Cuarón, director of Children of Men, and Guillermo del Toro, of the amazing and creative, Pan's Labyrinth. Or if you're
- A lover of un-Hollywood films - you know, the Hollywood ones are usually fluffy, predictable, all the characters have perfect hair and makeup, and all they need is a laugh track. So, un-Hollywood means people who look real, possibly like you and me, and the ending may not be a happy one.
Or beautiful, or Biutiful.