Director - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
147 Min; R
Subtitled - Spanish
Javier Bardem - Uxbal
Maricel Alvarez - Marambra
It is rare for a foreign film to produce an Oscar nominated best acting role, but the voters got it right when they selected Javier Bardem for a Best Actor nomination this year for his role as Uxbal, a low level criminal doing what he has to so that his kids can survive, in the movie Biutiful, a film in Spanish with subtitles and shot in a dark style. Famous for his roles in No Country For Old Men and Vicki Cristina Barcelona, Bardem is the star here as he portrays a man who is clearly conflicted with many things, but is very clear in his desire to provide for his children. His bi-polar wife Marambra is ever present and provides constant struggles for Uxbal.
The film has more than a few story lines that all link back to Uxbal, and it even holds some subtle supernatural under and overt tones, which only add to the mystery and the enjoyment of the film. I am hesitant to give this the highest praise because the film does feel slightly long and I'm not sure we ever really feel the cathartic release it aims for, but that is mainly because Bardem does too good a job at making us empathize with him. This is a beautiful film for sure.