Biutiful More Bloated than Babel, Even with Bardem
Biutiful, Alejandro González Iñárritus first film since he split from screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, with whom he created the fractured, parceled-out, time-togglingand increasingly globe-hopping, multilingual, and portentoustrilogy Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel, stays in one place (Barcelona) and follows one main character (Javier Bardems Uxbal) in a linear storyline. Though its structure may be whittled down in comparison with the earlier works, Biutiful is even more morbidly obese than Babel in terms of soggy ideas, elephantine with miserabilist humanism and redemption jibber-jabber. Beyond dying of prostate cancera situation that calls for several scenes of Bardem peeing blood and his pants before affixing an adult diaperUxbal must contend with a bipolar wife whos sleeping with his brother; serve as the black-market point man for Senegalese dope-peddlers and two venal Chinese sweatshop overseers (who also happen to be d/l lovers); and communicate with the deada burdensome gift that comes in handy after a horrible incident at the sweatshop. Through this relentless, manipulative muck, Uxbal tries to be a stable, loving parent to his two tykes, especially after Mom gives one of them a shiner. For all the hand-wringing hooey, Iñárritu says nothing more complex than this: Father feels worst.
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