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Javier Bardem gives an outstanding performance as Uxbal, a man treading a fine line between sinner and saint as he strives to create financial security for his family, wheeling and dealing in the murky underworld of Barcelona. Beautifully shot with a melancholy palate of colours that reflect both the darker side of the city and the protagonist’s mood, the film will cut you to the quick with its portrayal of the tragedies and betrayals that befall him and those close to him. There are also moments of glorious humour however, and ultimately Uxbal’s flawed and naïve character seems destined for redemption. This stunning and poetic film sends you home in a poignant yet optimistic mood.