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5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Biutiful + The Secret in Their Eyes Bilingual + Sea Inside [Import]
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A heartbreakingly direct performance by Javier Bardem anchors Biutiful, a film from Mexican auteur Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, 21 Grams). Uxbal (Bardem) is not an admirable man: he's a criminal middleman, helping human traffickers and illicit street peddlers in Barcelona. But in the thick of his corrupt and compromised world, Uxbal strives to do some modest good: he demands heaters for the cold basement where illegal Chinese laborers sleep and he carefully scrapes together money for his children, whom he deeply adores. On top of all this, Uxbal can commune with the recently dead, and tries to pass on reassurance to the bereaved. When Uxbal himself is diagnosed with severe cancer, he desperately tries to leave behind something better for his children. This plot summary paints a bleak picture, and there's no question this is--much like Iñárritu's other films, including Amores Perros--an emotionally harrowing experience. But Biutiful is also visually rich and deeply humane, and holds moments of grace that can only be found in sadness and loss. The entire cast brings a fullness of life to all of the characters, no matter how briefly they appear, but Bardem almost never leaves the screen and carries the movie with magnetic force. --Bret Fetzer

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Easy Outs in this Film! March 30 2012
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
The setting for this monumental film is modern-day Barcelona. This is a city that hums both industrially and socially, some of which involves the shoddy construction of buildings using slave labour from China. Javier Bardem plays the role of a gangster (Uxbal) in one of the city's many crime organizations. While his survival skills are good at staying alive in a very vicious world of thuggery, exploitation and murder, he yearns for a better life for himself and his children. The film does a very competent job in showing how these two tensions work in Uxbal's fitful existence as he meets with his many contacts on the street, tries to keep his family together through growing hardships, and intercedes on behalf of the truly unfortunate in society. In short, Uxbal is a criminal with a conscience who wants to put things right because he has inoperable cancer. That is why we see him make incredible efforts to keep these two sides of his life - his inner and outer selves - intact while he tries to redirect it. There are many conflicting moments in this film which only an accomplished actor like Bardem can pull off. The whole range of human emotions are available here. While the audience is definitely on side with Uxbal's heroic efforts, there is that sinking feeling that this story will not end well even with all Uxbal's good intentions. In the end, Uxbal's undying love for his children remains the only tangible legacy left. Everything else has been destroyed in a world where the love of money and selfishness has won out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the saddest, albeit Best, Movie Ever Aug. 25 2011
This movie will challenge you in unimaginable ways... its a deep movie that moves anyone who has a soul. Definitely worth purchasing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous Jan. 26 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
a gritty yet tender movie.....Bardem is wonderful
as usual....shows a side of the city that you would not normally see
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