Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Review)

⭐⭐ (Poor)

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Starring: Daniel Giménez Cacho, Griselda Siciliani
Certificate: 15
Run Time: 160 mins

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths is an epic Mexican black comedy drama from director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu. This is his first film since taking the Best Director Oscar for The Revenant. The film follows journalist Silverio Gama (Daniel Gimenez Cacho) as he faces an existential crisis, with scenes not appearing to follow logical cohesion. 

Bardo is a rare misstep for Inarritu – a mostly bloated and self-indulgent 160 minute slog. That said, it’s not entirely without merit. The first twenty minutes are thought-provoking, especially an early sequence where a baby decides he doesn’t want to be born and wants to head back into his mother’s womb as he declares the world is a mess. Silverio also envisions a reenactment of the 1847 Battle of Chapultepec, which Iñárritu deftly brings to life. 

Beyond the first twenty minutes, the film is packed with symbolism. A scene with Silverio conversing with his father is interesting as Silverio’s body is shrunken to that of a child but maintains his adult face. 

Iñárritu interrogates the notion of national identity as Silverio often travels between Mexico and the United States but doesn’t feel as if either is his true home. An exchange between Silverio and a border security officer is particularly fiery, as is a sequence of historic atrocities in the middle of a Mexican square. 

Daniel Gimenez Cacho gives a committed and personal performance and the film is lushly shot by Darius Khondji, a departure from cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. The score by Bryce Dessner and Iñárritu also has some bright spots. 

Although an explanation is provided in the final twenty minutes regarding the disjointed storytelling and the film coalesces to a profound ending. Although, it’s too little too late. Bardo certainly deals with some inspired material and has some great moments but Iñárritu needed to be reigned in with the runtime and storytelling for this to better work on the screen. 

⭐⭐ (Poor)


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