Saturday, March 19, 2011
I was mesmerized by the man he portrayed. Some of the reviews I read on Rotten Tomatoes thought it was just too much of a downer movie, and although nobody faulted Bardem's performance, many didn't give the director, Gonzales Iñárritu, as much credit as I feel he deserves for his artistic direction. I thought the entire movie was masterfully crafted.
Uxbal is the protagonist in a gritty, messy love story between him and his children, his bipolar ex-wife, and the people he meets and deals with on the streets. He has the gift of being able to hear the voices of people who have recently died and hearing their pleas. He's aware that he himself is dying and wants to make things work out for those close to him, as much as he is able.
This is a Barcelona that is nobody's tourist destination, and although it was a really difficult movie to watch, I would see it again in a moment, partly because it was such a finely crafted movie, well worth watching. But it would have been a completely different experience without Javier Bardem. He was the jewel. I have thought of the movie many times since I saw it, and I can only say that if you go, expect to cry into your tissues and leave the movie theater with gratitude. I did, partly because it ended so beautifully, and partly because my own life was cast in a bright hopeful light, when I left the theater and felt the weight of Uxbal's world lift from my shoulders.