Entertainment Magazine: Film: 2010: "Iñárritu’s BIUTIFUL"

BIUTIFUL - In Spanish, perhaps?

By Miv Evans

This is a Spanish drama that has no idea what it's about and, when you don't know what you want to say, it's usually better to make it snappy and get the hell out.  Unfortunately, this filmmaker does the exact opposite and loiters for exactly two hours and twenty minutes, by which time it's debatable as to whether the melodic lilt of the Espanola tongue will ever sound the same again.  

Uxbal (Javier Bardem) is separated from his unstable ex-wife and has custody of his two young children.  He oversees a small underground empire alongside his brother and a Chinese businessman.  The three deal in counterfeit goods and construction, both of which are supplied with their illegal immigrant work force.

No one can play broody better than Bardem and, as meandering as this film is, his presence does create a tone of desperation that helps carry his tortured tale through. His dark side also fits in well with his dealings in the trafficking of humans but, by the same token, risks us not liking him, so his tender side is brought out in his relationship with his two little children, to whom he is a caring, devoted father.

This endears him to us and assures us that, even on his worst day, he would balk at the idea of putting someone's cat in the microwave. 

At some time the writer/director must have decided that keeping the story only from Uxbal's point of view would not be exciting enough and so he threw in some incongruous sex scenes, which include the gyrations of a chemically-high, slutty masseuse and two Chinese men kissing.  Apart from the obvious lack of good taste, these unnecessary add-ons only serve to derail an already tenuous storyline.    

Uxbal just can't catch a break in this film.  He has work, health and family issues and lives below the poverty line in total squalor while his brother, who is also his business partner, enjoys large Jack Daniels, thonged dancing girls and enough cash to be able to tip big. Maybe Uxbal should lighten up a little, take some time out to catch up on a few TV shows, and then he'd realize that somewhere along the line he's getting screwed because middle management crime bosses usually do very well for themselves, as anyone who's watched the Sopranos knows.

Spanish, English sub-titles

To read more reviews by Miv Evans visit www.emol.org/reporters/evans.  Contact her at www.thetrailerfestival.com

Movie Release Dates

France: 20 October 2010
Mexico: 22 October 2010
Norway: 29 October 2010
Sweden: 26 November 2010
Spain: 3 December 2010
Israel: 23 December 2010
USA: 29 December 2010 (limited)
Finland: 21 January 2011
UK: 28 January 2011
Germany: 10 March 2011

Iñárritu’s BIUTIFUL Movie Trailer

Watch the Official "Iñárritu’s  BIUTIFUL" movie trailer through Hulu. Click on the white triangle to start the movie.

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Movie Notes

Roadside Attractions and Liddell Entertainment acquired U.S. rights to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s  BIUTIFUL, which world premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where star Javier Bardem captured the Best Actor Award for his tour de force performance of a conflicted man struggling to reconcile fatherhood, family, love, remorse, spirituality, crime, seduction, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona.

BIUTIFUL will have its North American bow at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival.   The domestic deal was announced jointly by Howard Cohen, Co-President of Roadside Attractions and Mickey Liddell of Liddell Entertainment.  Roadside Attractions plans a December, 2010 release.

BIUTIFUL is a classic tragedy set in modern times, based on a story by González Iñárritu and written by him, Armando Bo and Nicolás Giacobone.  The film stars Academy Award winner Javier Bardem and  newcomers Marciel Alvarez and Diaryatou Daff. 

Producers are González Iñárritu, Jon Kilik and Fernando Bovaira; Executive producer is David Linde; associate producers are Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo Del Toro; co-producers are Sandra Hermida and Ann Ruark.  Music by Academy Award winner Gustavo Santaolalla; Edited by Academy Award winner Stephen Mirrione; Production design by Academy Award winner Brigitte Broch; Director of Photography is Academy Award nominee Rodrigo Prieto.

“BIUTIFUL joins the growing pantheon of tremendous, groundbreaking work by Alejandro González Iñárritu,” said Cohen.   “It’s a deeply felt film, guaranteed to rock audiences to their core, and that’s due to the amazing  reciprocity between filmmaker and actor.   Alejandro and Javier are two halves of the same whole.”

Liddell added, “BIUTIFUL pairs the decade’s most exciting director with its most talented actor.  Simply hearing Alejandro’s and Javier’s names in the same sentence excited me – seeing the result of their collaboration on screen blew me away.”

Cohen and attorney Greg Bernstein negotiated on behalf of Roadside Attractions.  Liddell and attorney Robert Darwell of Shephard Mullin negotiated for Liddell Entertainment.  CAA and attorney Tara Kole of Gang, Tyre, Ramer and Brown  represented the filmmakers.

Menage Atroz, Mod Producciones in association with Focus Features International present with the participation of Televisión Española and Televisió de Catalunya and the support of ICAA Ministerio de Cultura.  A Menage Atroz, Mod Producciones Production in coproduction with Ikiru Films.  A film by Alejandro González Iñárritu.  Javier Bardem in BIUTIFUL.

Roadside Attractions is a film distribution company committed to championing independent films with a willingness to entertain. The company works with filmmakers to devise innovative marketing strategies that encourage audiences to see films that are not typical studio fare.  Roadside Attractions’ 2009 release THE COVE captured the Academy Award for best feature documentary.  Currently in theaters  is Debra Granik’s critically-hailed WINTER’S BONE, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Previous theatrical releases include Chris Rock’s GOOD HAIR; RJ Cutler’s THE SEPTEMER ISSUE; Ramin Bahrani’s GOODBYE SOLO, winner of the 2008 Venice Film Festival's FIPRESCI International Critics' prize; Patrick Creadon’s Sundance sensation I.O.U.S.A; Toronto Film Festival People's Choice winner, BELLA; Andrew Wagner's Spirit Award-nominated STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING; Tarsem’s groundbreaking visual marvel THE FALL; the outrageous comedy SARAH SILVERMAN: JESUS IS MAGIC; Cannes Directors Fortnight hit CARAMEL; Academy Award® nominee SUPER SIZE ME; Spirit Award winner THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO, as well as box office hits such as AMAZING GRACE, LADIES IN LAVENDER and WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW?
Liddell Entertainment is an independent production company specializing in the development and production of intelligent and meaningful films.  With a diverse film slate from action thriller genre to political satire to horror, Liddell focuses on projects that have a well-defined audience.  While financing development and production of HAUNTING OF MOLLY HARTLEY and the soon to be released THE DETAILS starring Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks and Laura Linney, Liddell Entertainment is also active in acquisitions and has recently bought worldwide rights to Chris Rock’s GOOD HAIR, the intense psychological thriller THE COLLECTOR and U.S. rights to BIUTIFUL starring Javier Bardem, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.   Off the success of HAUNTING OF MOLLY HARTLEY and THE COLLECTOR, production will begin on their respective sequels in 2010 and 2011.

Before opening the production house in 2007, Mickey Liddell produced GO and BROKEN HEARTS CLUB for Sony, along with TRAVELLER, TELLING LIES IN AMERICA, DELIVERED and UNDER HEAVEN.  He also executive produced “Everwood” and “Jack and Bobby” in television for the WB.

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