On a pure technical and story stand point this is Alejandro Iñárritu’s most ambitious film to date. An argument can be made that THE REVENANT filled that role back in 2015, but I feel somewhere between BIRDMAN and THE REVENANT Iñárritu wanted to make a film that was both intimate and indicative of him as a person.
For all intents and purposes, it’s a film that encompasses Iñárritu’s strengths as a director and his weakness as a storyteller. I feel like he threw everything at the wall that best exemplified his struggles as a person and as an artist just to see if it would stick or not. When it sticks, it sticks. But when it doesn’t, it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t, it’s glaring and undermines whatever Iñárritu was trying to convey throughout the runtime. That’s not to say BARDO has no merit whatsoever, though.
The film’s plot of a filmmaker struggling through his anxieties in a surrealist setting is reminiscent of Fellini’s immortal classic 8½. In fact, I was so moved by its similarities that it made me appreciate 8½ more than I previously did during my first viewing back in 2020.
It seems imposter syndrome is weighing heavily on Iñárritu’s mind as of late, and given his own rags-to-riches journey it’s hard not to relate to his – and his character’s – experience. BARDO is arguably the most inspiring and poignant director bio-pic since ROMA and it’s a film I feel will only improve with time. I can’t get it out of my head and it’s why I love Iñárritu.