Biutiful
2010
***½
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Cast: Javier Bardem, Maricel Álvarez, Hanaa Bouchaib, Guillermo Estrella, Diaryatou Daff, Cheng Tai Shen, Nasser Saleh

Uxbal is a Barcelona street hustler who scrapes a living by arranging work for illegal immigrants. He tries to provide for his two children whose mother is a bipolar alcoholic, and digest the news that he will die of cancer. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s partnership with writer Guillermo Arriaga broke up after their trilogy (Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel), but he hasn’t lightened up one bit. This is another hard-hitting drama about a man who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. The film is very long and heavy (Uxbal’s ability to communicate with the dead is one subplot I could have lived without), but Iñárritu certainly knows how to use his cinematic tools. He tells this tragic story with great bravado, and draws a wonderful performance from Javier Bardem in the process.