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I do not like Alejandro González Iñárritu, I've intensely disliked every film he has made, I even have a 2007 review I wrote about Babel documenting this intense dislike. I had written him off as one of those world hating, pretentious, impossible directors, until now.

This also marks one of the first time I have to disagree with the AV club film commentary. (Those guys seem to hate Iñárritu for the exact same reasons I did, if only I had known this 4 years ago when it was me against every single person I knew) They feel that this was much in the same vein as his previous releases, and very much just depressing events heaped on each other.

Make no mistake, practically every single terrible thing that could happen, happened in this movie. But for the first time, I didn't see just the commentary and instead saw a human story. The heartbreak translates from screen to seats, and all the terrible things that happened didn't feel forced or manipulative, but rather a natural progression of a shitty world spiraling into more shit. Miserable, yes, but also believable.

The overarching theme this deals with, instead of the myriad of issues it is involved in, is actually fatherhood. Perhaps this is what gave this film something real, an actual relationship for once, held together by the absolutely astounding performance by Javier Bardem. I can't begin to tell you. There is this one scene that still breaks my heart when I think about it. I looked at it, and in a Ron Burrus way, I said to myself "That is what remorse looks like." (Apologies to anyone who is not Adler, and therefore have no idea what I'm talking about)

The direction is masterful. My blazing hatred for Iñárritu always got in the way of me noticing that, ever. But finally, what I felt about the contents stepped out of the way and I saw all the beautiful things he was doing. There would be this fantastic extreme close-up shot of these ants on a window, then it would cut to the woman looking at them idly while talking to Javier, only making one off hand mention of them at the end that ties the whole speech together. It was beautifully constructed, and little things like that permeate throughout.

My point is, even if you don't like Iñárritu, watch this.

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