Overloaded with misery and mishaps. But then, that’s usually the case with a film by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel
, 21 Grams
). Actor Javier Bardem does what he can with the role of Uxbal, a terminally ill resident of Barcelona who makes the rounds among his troubled family, a factory full of suffering Chinese immigrant workers, his squad of illegal African street vendors, and the ghosts of Christmas past, but director Iñárritu – who wrote the screenplay with Armando Bo and Nicolás Giacobone – defeats him in practically every scene. The last straw is probably the magic-realist vision of butterflies (and later a corpse) on the moldy ceiling. Random thought while sitting in the dark: Ever notice how much Bardem has grown to resemble Anthony Quinn at the same age? Maricel Álvarez, Diaryatou Daff, and Eduard Fernández costar. (147 min.)
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A boxer in conflict and man in a box.