Javier Bardem, a well known name in a category that has a lot of unknowns. I have to remind myself that the committee that picks the 5 nominees from the short list of 9 films have to watch/rewatch these all over a three day period.
Having now seen 4 of the 5 Oscar foreign nominees, all but the winner, this was not the worst. I tend to give films that I have preconceived notions of being bad either worse scores, or better scores if the film was even slightly good. Strangely I was just ok with this one. It wasn't bad. Javier Bardem did in fact turn in a strong performance, and the film might as well have been shot from the 1st person, because he is almost always on the screen.
So what is it all about? Bardem plays a man who negotiates contracts for illegal immigrants. Viewed as a villain by some, and a decent man by others. He helps these people find work while taking some off the top for himself. He isn't a rich man by any means, so it is your judgement if he is a bad guy for what he is doing. Whenever he tries to help people it tends to backfire, and he has learned that he had terminal cancer which is so advanced chemo will do little to increase his time.
I have mixed opinions about this film, and can see who it would be considered good by some. For me just average and forgettable, but a unique 6/10 in that I would suggest this to those that like slower foreign films and especially Bardem.
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1164999/