Movie Review – Biutiful

Posted: May 26, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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Like any Inarritu movie this one too opens up with a scene which keeps us guessing. After a shot where we see two persons voice there comes another shot which is less intriguing but evenly poised. The title Biutiful flashes up there. It doesn’t take much time for us to guess that there is going to be nothing beautiful in the movie. In fact all Inarritu’s movies are disturbing. The degree of disturbance goes down with the consecutive movies. Because at one point you feel you’re exhausted. I watched Inarritu’s movies in reverse order. Starting with Babel, which was very intriguing and by far the best of his was followed by 21 grams and Amores Perros, which is what, is considered by many as his best. But by the time I came to Amores Perros I was exhausted. It was the like hearing the same song again and again in loop. Even if it’s your favorite song you get tired after some time. That’s what happened to me.


Ebert acquisition of 21 grams being too confusing and such a pain in the a$$ is a very respectable comment. It worked for me in Babel. In 21 grams except for the opening shot (the best of his) there wasn’t much to applaud; Amores Perros again was less compelling because the secret was out. I was grateful after watching for 10 minutes that Biutiful is in linear narration. This opening shot was the second best after 21 grams because I guessed it wrong. Whenever I get fooled cleverly I give it to the director.

But as I said the sadness here is heavily implied. See the characters; it’s taken out right from a sadistic era. Yes I did feel bad for the kids more than anyone else. Other than that the rest were disheartening. Once Uxbal (a brilliant Javier Bardem, whom I’ll talk about later) gets diagnosed of cancer it becomes another wet handkerchief film.

Uxbal (Javier Bardem) is a father of two, whose business cannot be defined in words, does some illegal trading and has a wife in the form of a slut. The film tells the story of Uxbal trying to cope up with his family and secure a shallow looking future for his kids once he gets diagnosed with cancer. His wife who calls herself a ‘massager’ is of no use as she doesn’t figure in his scheme of things. Once he tries to go on with life, reconcile with her and include her in the family the happiness sparks and we see a hint of hope. But as expected the family breaks up because none of the parents are stable. They are eccentric in their own way. The two children form a great pair of obedient kids for parents like this. Making us sympathize with them throughout.

Things go awry when his condition deteriorates and his wife starts behaving rude with his kid. Some dining table conversations even though candid were a bit of shock to me. But for the state they are in I guess it must be pretty normal for them. In the midst of it I loved the scene where Marambra (a lovely name and liked it especially the way Javier Bardem calls her) tells the story of Uxbal proposing her to the children. Foreign movies have a thing for this dining table. Some of the best dining table scene that comes to my mind now is Wild Strawberries, 4 months 3 weeks and 2 days etc. This dining scene is the second best scene in the movie next to the opening scene.

The movie in spite of its moments falters. It doesn’t go anywhere. We feel suffocated with their sufferings. It’s not that we get moved by their suffering. Instead we want to get rid of it and breathe some fresh air. This happens due to too much melodrama forcefully injected to the movie. The treatment could have been different but commenting on that would be futile because it’s the way Inarritu makes movies.

It’s not a movie to be written off but it’s neither a special movie. Inarittu has this advantage of using the Mexican background to the fullest. Right after I saw those few scenes in Babel where the kids go on vacation with their care taker I fell in love with the country. Like every movie of his, this too has a great cast.

Maricel Alvarez as Marambra does a brilliant job. She makes us hate her instantly and that’s her biggest success she could achieve with the role she’s given with. The Japanese woman makes our heart heavy in those very few scenes she appears. Her death does give us lump in our throat. Ige like every black woman does her job perfectly and gives us that pleasant feeling when she looks after the kids. Needless to say the kids who performed did an outstanding job.

Above all there is one man, Javier Bardem who excels and makes the movie truly his. I didn’t have much knowledge of his acting skills. Right after Skyfall things changed. I knew him as the villain of Skyfall. He was ruthless and menacing in that character. I thought he’d be a perfect fit for any villainous role but with this role he surprised me and proved me wrong. It’s not that he could fit in any villainous role; he could fit in any role no matter what. A true legend.

Inarittu is now a famous man. I’m getting a hint of him being turning global, thanks to the crowd. But it is affecting him badly. If a man could make films like Babel he must be someone special. Instead he continues to stay in the same nut, his comfort zone and make sadder and sadder movies. I’m not complaining with the melancholy part. Even Alexander Paine does the same but it’s not induced abruptly. But the intention seems too absurd here. If that one part could be corrected then who knows Inarittu could make another masterpiece like his Death Trilogy.


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