some men are fathers and some are former young believing husbands. uxbal, as played by bardem in this film, is both and he is taxed with being male and with believing it is his job to be good. the only way he can achieve this, he believes, is by making himself less bad. when he lessens, or tries to, his impact on those around him he becomes less of a man and invites those of his world to a party of which he is only the guest. he plays host only to his dying. he has few beliefs, but they are clarifying- that his children remain untouched, that death is not sudden. that both of these beliefs are relegated to the trash bin of faith makes uxbal a recycler of dreams in a world of stronger insomnias. the film is all color and grit and it’s good to see a hard film like this not play into a gypsy trap of hazy image- even its ghostly asides play fair and eschew surrealism for an impoverished horror. it has been maligned its length, and I’ve nothing for that except a measured what the fuck. uxbal touches the face of his dead father and uxbal’s son sleeps on the injured side of his own. one cannot call curtain on a man until that man is done. if it means one need watch the man full of others' demons in the a.m. in his own apartment squinting at a refrigerator hung picture drawn by his child, we’ve a duty to squint him into focus. special attention should be made to uxbal’s wife, what the filmmakers start with and allow her to end on. it’s a rare thing these days to see a woman character be forgiven, let alone allow that forgiveness to come from acceptance, to come from the woman. there are two films here, and inarritu the director makes a strong case for custody.