Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's (Babel, 21 Grams) is a director who makes films that challenge you to think and force you to feel the entire rainbow of emotions. He is not merely trying to entertain you he wants to have an impact on the viewer. Gonzalez Inarritu has become one of the most important voices in film of his era. Not just in Latin America (he is Mexican), but worldwide. Now pair him up with the talent of actor Javier Bardem (Eat, Pray Love, No Country For Old Men) and you have quite a powerful duo.
Uxbal (Javier Bardem) is no angel. He is a black market dealer who has done plenty of dodgy things in his life. Selling humans is not a noble thing. This man of low moral standards exploits illegal aliens living in Barcelona by selling them to businesses looking for cheap labour. To supplement his income he also makes money off of people by communing with their dead loved ones and then telling them what they said.
Everything changes when Uxbal is told that he has terminal prostate cancer. Once over his shock he decides that he has to live long enough to find someone to take care of his two young boys. His wife is not an option in his opinion as she is a drug addict and mentally unstable.
Gonzalez Inarritu's latest film struggles to examine the issues of how a human being chooses to live their live and how we die. It is a classic tale of the ages – a modern day version of a Greek tragedy in which the anti-hero does everything he can to redeem himself before he goes on to meet his maker. Though the main character is not the greatest guy we somehow end up caring about him. Quite an accomplishment.
At this year's Cannes Film Festival Javier Bardem was given the Palme d'or for Best Actor and after you see the film you won't question why. He surrenders himself completely to the role. No fear of playing a less than savoury character. Javier embraces Uxbal warts and all.
The story does not happen in the burbs it happens in the poorest, roughest parts of the city. You don't want to be caught alone or after dark in the areas this film takes place in. It is dangerous, loud, noisy, dirty, chaotic, and violent. Again the director turns it all around to make us realize that beauty can come out of the most unlikely places. In a place of darkness there can still be light.
The story is a expansive one that will take a while to sink in. You won't be able to take it all in a once. It takes work, but it is well worth it. You will go through a myriad of emotions while watching it. I wavered in between feelings of being scared, sad, funny, creepy, and just plain ole intense. Underneath all that noise and grime is a really deep film, you just have to work for it. Be ready to get dirty with this one.