Dave White
Biutiful Review

Dave's Rating:


Most misleading title of 2011

Who's In It: Javier Bardem, Maricel Alvarez

The Basics: Javier Bardem lives in the dank underworld of Barcelona. He's divorced from a woman with bipolar disorder and struggles to feed his two children while closely monitoring their contact with the unstable mom. He works in black market everything, most notably the trafficking of illegal Chinese workers into sweatshops where they sleep in freezing basements on the floor. Also, he happens to be dying of a make-you-urinate-blood disease. And when you spend two and a half hours wallowing in the cesspool of this guy's life, you'll wonder if death won't be the best thing that's happened to him in a long while.

What's The Deal: For a blippy moment in his early filmmaking career, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu--he of Amores Perros and Babel--investigated the flipside of happiness with a kind of energy and momentum and humanity that suggested he had something new to tell you about it. And then, somewhere along the way, it seemed like he decided that human suffering was its own reward. That's not always a bad idea. In fact, I'm often a big fan of movies where no one gets out alive/well/content/full-of-pie/etc. But there needs to be a reason for it somewhere along the way, and if there is one in this film it's been accidentally suffocated like a toddler with a dry cleaning bag.

Barcelona By Day Is Also Barcelona By Night: I've never been to Barcelona. And while I'm sure it can't all be as exuberantly colorful as Pedro Almodovar's movies would suggest, with everyone lounging around alongside their vibrant transgendered friends on zippy orange pleather couches, I can't figure it's a nonstop dodge of puke puddles on the sidewalk either, relentlessly cold, grim, greasy and gray. Now, obviously, movies are essentially really well-told lies. But if I have to believe in one, I think I'm going to go with the orange couch.

He's Been In Sorrow's Kitchen and Licked Out All The Pots: Bardem is great. There's a good reason he's nominated for Best Actor right now for a film that few people have seen. He delivers a performance that's comparable to Emily Watson's in Breaking The Waves (minus the existence of a meddling deity), and he really seems like he's living a life of 100% agony from sun-up to sundown. You will respect his abilities if you make it all the way through to the bitter end. But you won't want to watch him do it twice.

Bottom Line: It'sThe Human Centipede for people who think they're too fancy for The Human Centipede.


Comments (2)

BaciuC - 2-11-2011 12:47 PM
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Well,I don´t really know Barcelona either.I live in Madrid and I´ve been to Barcelona but I can´t say I know it.The review you are making is not from a point of view of a critic but from the point of view of a sceptic man viewing a movie that is as belivable as life.I think you have lived in a very different enviroment from the one you see in this movie and your mind can´t believe this can happen in a modern Barcelona that you molded in your mind acording to the movies about Europe that most of the people are used to see... colorfull and full of cultural references.Well,Dave, this movie is life,life in Barcelona,life in Madrid,life in any other place,because everywhere people are fighting in life for what others are taking for granted.

Eliz Manandhar - 6-13-2011 3:41 PM
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halfway thru... bardem is gr8.... the movie drags... dunno what i should do coz i don't feel like carrying on... 2/5.... well, i think i'll call it a night...

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