Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who has directed three award worthy films in the last decade with Amores Perros, 21 grams and Babel, now delivers his fourth. Just that Biutiful follows a linear storyline could give you the idea that it'd be a notch under its predecessors, however, its narrative stays steady. The main character Uxbal is described as "Devoted father, tormented lover, mystified son, underground businessman, ghost seeker, spiritual sensitive, consumer-goods pirate, guilty conscience and urban survivor." All personified by actor Javier Bardem whose face expresses a multitude of emotions just by the slightest twitch of a muscle. He nails every nuance of the role. What he embodies is more a human being than a character. You're in his state of mind when you're watching Bardem's visceral projection of a man who eventually concedes to the bitter truth that his end is near and it's all over, but still remains someone who's trying to keep everything from going to pieces.
Every minute you're watching the screen, you're not in your seat. You're right there, in the film. You're in the world the Inarritu has created. The film tells you little about Uxbal, nonetheless, he seems familiar. The time capsule of the film comprises just a slice of his life which is penetrated with shrill humanity. Biutiful lives up to its title in every way. The streets of bedraggled tenements in Barcelona are turned pretty by cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto's magic touch. You might be unable to connect the dots after the first watch, but it won't matter. It's the heartfelt journey that counts. If there's something terrific about the film, it is the film itself. When I think back on what was good about the film, I don't know what to put my finger on, although its greatness is one that can be sensed early in the film. Nothing stands out; everything seems to have been channeled through a pipeline. What comes out is something that is experienced with palpable melancholy and leaves you in emotional shambles. You're in for a work out.