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SP D: Ale­jan­dro González Iñár­ritu w/ Javier Bar­dem, Mari­cel Al­varez. Spain/Mex­ico. 148 min. Sep 10, 8 pm Win­ter Gar­den; Sep 11, 9:30 am AMC 6 Rat­ing: NNNNN

This har­row­ing new work from the gifted Mex­i­can direc­tor for­goes his multi­nar­ra­tive ap­proach for a sin­gle and dis­turb­ing story. Uxbal (Bar­dem) is try­ing to main­tain his myr­iad shady busi­nesses while car­ing for his two chil­dren and the mother of his ex-wife (Al­varez), who’s bi-po­lar and now turn­ing tricks. And he’s dy­ing.

Uxbal’s a fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ter: sen­si­tive yet un­scrupu­lous, a lov­ing fa­ther ca­pa­ble of ex­ploita­tion. Bar­dem is spec­tac­u­lar as a tor­tured soul try­ing to do right when ev­ery­thing’s go­ing all wrong.

This isn’t for ev­ery­one – if you can’t stand the heat, stay away. But if you want to ex­pe­ri­ence a ter­rific film­maker and a su­perb ac­tor at the height of their pow­ers, don’t miss it.

Life is Biu­ti­ful for Mari­cel Al­varez and Javier Bar­dem.

Mex­i­can di­rec­tor Ale­jan­dro González Iñár­ritu has an­other hit on his hands.

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