MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -4

Javier Bardem. Foreign film/drama. Written and directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Embroiled in a life of crime, Uxbal is a tragic hero, a man in free fall. †Heís also connected with the afterlife, being able to read the thoughts of souls trapped in their dead bodies, as yet unable to free themselves from this world. (Huh?) Heís also a sick man, dying of cancer and afraid of death and of leaving his two small children alone. And his problems donít stop there. Heís also separated from his dope-addicted wife, another tragic soul, yet reaches out to her because of the children. Then thereís the guilt he feels over the Chinese workers heís provided to a syndicate who treat the foreigners as indentured servants Ė or slaves. Through all his turmoil, he struggles with his fate in order to find forgiveness and redemption.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Javier Bardem is a solid actor (No Country For Old Men, The Sea Inside), and his performance here will no doubt receive further Oscar attention. The same can be said for the filmís director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Due to its intensity, the Spanish production will no doubt garner a nomination for Best Foreign Film. But my goodness, itís a depressing movie.

True, we can learn from the trials and tribulations of others, but this is 138 minutes of, well, trials and tribulations. There are other films I would suggest concerning a man seeking a redemptive peace; films that also contain powerful moments and moving performances, but ones that donít assault with R-rated material.

DVD Alternative: The Apostle. This perceptive drama, written, directed and starring Robert Duvall, never condescends, nor is it antagonistic toward people of faith while telling its story of a good but imperfect manís redemption. PG-13. I found nothing offensive for exploitive purposes. The implied adultery, its one violent scene, the reverend's faulty nature, and a couple of mild expletives serve to further the story rather than shock us or malign the ministry.

Tender Mercies. Robert Duvall stars as a country western singer on the skids until a religious widow and her little boy take him in. Rated PG for some objectionable language in the beginning. But when the Christian woman has an effect on his life, out goes the profanity. Oscars went to Duvall and writer Horton Foote.

Bridge On The River Kwai. This superb action adventure is about a morally lost man (William Holden) finding redemption.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Roadside Attractions

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Some crude sexual inferences.

Obscene Language: Over 40 obscenities, mostly a mix of the f- and s-words.

Profanity: I caught no profane use of Godís name.

Violence: Thieves running from the cops are caught and beaten; people die from asphyxiation when cheap space heaters are left on all night. Blood: The lead is dying from prostate cancer, a couple times we see him urinating blood.

Sex: We see the leadís ex frolicking with a friend, she is a drug addict and a party girl who enjoys the attention of many men; we see her topless in a couple of scenes; we see a gay Chinese couple kissing and fondling.

Nudity: Female nudity in one scene.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: People smoke, drink and some use drugs in the film, but none of this is glorified Ė it merely shows a lifestyle that has led to destruction.

Other: The lead is some sort of soothsayer, he can talk to the dead. We see this man through the process of his illness with scenes showing him vomit, urinating blood and other human indignities.

Running Time: 138 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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