This is an incredibly disappointing effort from Inarritu, akin to The Life Aquatic from Wes Anderson and Only God Forgives from Nicolas Winding Refn respectively. As with those films, Biutiful feels listless, unfinished and lacks many of the trademarks that have turned Inarritu into a powerhouse these last few years. Long takes are nearly nonexistent and the majority of the film takes place in minimally lit apartments, robbing Inarritu of any chance to use the cityscape to his advantage. Bardem absolutely kills this performance and earns his Oscar nod here but his work is lost to an intersection of immigration, economics, fatherhood, grief, death, capitalism, relationships and more, which all serve to make this a messy, unfocused film that never really quite settles on an appropriate direction for its star. There is the potential for a powerful story on the underbelly of the European work force and the illegal immigration and exploitation that occurs there but that gets lost in the middle of a cancer/end of life story on Bardem's part which is subsequently lost in Bardem's moral dilemmas, relationship issues and his struggles as a father. Dozens of characters are never fleshed out, eating up screen time but never really delivering anything meaningful to the plot. The brother, Chinese bosses, African sellers and others just never come to fruition as the meanderingly manic plot moves on without them. The movie limps towards the finish, which is really just another weird supernatural tangent that Inarritu fails to connect to the whole. Ultimately however, what really sinks the film is that despite Bardem's best efforts, him, his wife and all of the rest of the characters aren't really likable at all. Biutiful doesn't offer us anyone to connect with and with a confused tone that fails to direct us towards a villain film, I get the sense that Inarritu wanted us to like the flawed Bardem but just couldn't write the lines to make it happen. The results are slow and incredibly sub-par for a director who went on to produce two of the top films of the decade in Birdman and The Revenant. Not worth your two and a half hours.