We're accustomed to a Hollywood system where great feats of filmmaking are intermingled with mediocrity. It's come to be expected that not every film can be good, let alone great. But then there's Alejandro González Iñárritu. His stunning career started ten years ago with Amores Perros, and continued with 21 Grams and Babel. Three out of three. Now he's back for his first feature without collaborator Guillermo Arriaga -- Biutiful -- and it looks like he'll do just fine on his own.

From Cannes, Joe Utichi called the film "four for four," and with one look at the film's new trailer, it's easy to see why.
Javier Bardem plays a Barcelona man facing no small pile of everyday struggle. "With two young kids in tow and a mentally ill estranged wife to contend with, his is an existence defined by a need to eke out a living any way possible. Providing cheap Chinese labor for sweatshops and construction sites, and managing the sale of black market goods by some of Barcelona's immigrant population, he's practically a one-man mafia, bribing police officers and doing his best to keep his charges out of trouble, while making a quick buck." In an Afterwards twist, he can see the spirits of the recently deceased, and soon learns that he's got terminal cancer.

The trailer is stunning (no surprise in Iñárritu's hands), but it also has a sense of liveliness with the score and editorial pacing. What first seems somber quickly becomes a collection of scenes that reaches a fevered crescendo. Looking at even a two-minute mashup, it's no wonder that Javier Bardem won the Best Actor prize for his performance (shared with Elio Germano of La Nostra Vita). It looks that good, so much so that it won't even send me on a wonky-title rant.

Check out the trailer below, courtesy of Empire.