Starring: Javier Bardem, Maricel Alvarez, Hanaa Bouchaib
Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Babel”)
Written by: Alejandro González Iñárritu (debut), Armando Bo (debut), Nicolás Giacobone (debut)

While poetic and immaculately shot on a grey palate to make the city of Barcelona look like a place you wouldn’t want to send your enemy, “Biutiful,” the fourth feature-length film from Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu (and the first without longtime screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga), is a structural mess. Doing what he does best, Iñárritu shows us human emotion at its weakest and does so with a searing performance by Academy Award winner Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men”). But the layers upon layers of narrative Iñárritu experiments with as a writer don’t come from the same fine-toothed brush as Arriaga. After two and a half hours, Iñárritu has muddled depressing idea after idea with what he believes to be craftiness. Instead, it ends up being one of those films you can admire, but not necessarily like very much.

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