Biutiful is Alejandro González Iñárritu's first film since the underwhelming Babel. It couldn't be a more different affair.
Filmed in Spanish, light on Hollywood stars – aside from Mr Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem – it places the focus on the narrative, rather than the spectacular. Bardem is a single father, struggling to raise his children on a meagre income while concealing his own terminal illness. He raises funds by purporting to communicate with the dead. With this as his vehicle, Iñárritu examines an array of philosophical questions – chiefly, what does it mean to be good? While at times a little slow, Biutiful is carried by the strength of Bardem's performance.