Bardo, False Chronicle Of A Handful Of Truths’ Review: A Deep And Trippy Film

Netflix presents an Oscar-season family drama with a twist.

The award season is rapidly approaching, and with it will come some dramas loosely based on their directors’ lives and struggles. In The Fabelmans, Steven Spielberg recreates his post-World War II upbringing with sentimental warmth, mother-son turmoil, and a euphoric enthusiasm for the movies. While grappling with regret and racial guilt, James Gray’s boyhood tale Armageddon Time drops us into a frigid Reagan-era America.

However, Alejandro González Iárritu’s Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, stands out from the crowd by focusing on an elderly analog who looks back on his life with a dizzying mixture of pleasure, fear, and intellectual pretension rather than a young lookalike.

All of these movies probe into a renowned filmmaker’s soul under a thin veil of fiction, allowing them to be as openly honest as they dare, perhaps an unavoidable indulgence. Indulgence is a dangerously arbitrary tool. There’s no such thing as death by chocolate if you have a sweet appetite.

However, if you prefer savory, adding more sugar might give you toothache. So, the question is not whether Iárritu’s most recent indulges, but rather, does that indulgence succeed? And to be honest, I’m still undecided.

Netflix will release ‘Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths’

The second official trailer for the upcoming Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, is now available on Netflix.

On December 16, 2022, Netflix will begin broadcasting the new epic drama series internationally. Alejandro G. Inarritu and Nicolas Giacobone collaborated on writing and directing the next Mexican movie.

Bardo False Chronicle Of A Handful Of Truths
Bardo False Chronicle Of A Handful Of Truths

Filmmaker Alejandro, who has won five Academy Awards, is well-known for his Oscar-winning works The Revenant and Birdman.

Who Will Appear In ‘Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths’?

  • Daniel Gimenez Cacho
  • Griselda Siciliani
  • Ximena Lamadrid
  • Iker Solano

The book Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths tells the story of Silverio, a Mexican journalist who spent more than 20 years living in Los Angeles.

Having won a prestigious honor, Silverio goes back to his home nation. He had no idea, though, that his brief journey to Mexico would send him into a tailspin of concerns about the course of his own life.

What is Bardo about?

Alejandro González Iárritu co-wrote and directed Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, which follows a Mexican journalist who, like Iárritu, saw his career take off in America. Silverio (Daniel Giménez Cacho), who is about to accept a significant award for his work, returns to Mexico and considers his job, life decisions, and where he fits in his native country and his chosen home.

The similarity is evident given that Iárritu has won Oscar praise for films including Babel, Birdman, and The Revenant. However, his internal conflict about his identity manifests through a clumsy, bizarre, fascinating, and annoying journey.

After getting something akin to a lifetime achievement award, Silverio feels compelled to consider his journey to get here. The screenplay by Iárritu and Nicolás Giacobone, who shared an Oscar for their work on Birdman, mirrors how our brains might slide through thoughts and up and down our timelines.

It shifts from Silverio gently tucking in his young son, moments later, confronting the same son, now a rebellious teen. Similar to how a history lesson on Mexico is brought to life by realistic reenactments, it appears the troops had materialized fully-formed and in vibrant garb from Silverio’s imagination.

In other places, the settings blend: A looking passenger and a dropped package are the only things linking a subway car that blinks into a modest residence.

Before Iárritu thoroughly explains all this narrative ambiguity, it’ll be hours, if not days. However, a listener with good ears will pick this up right away. And to be honest, once you know, it may occasionally feel excruciating to wait for the story to develop throughout the two hours and 39 minutes of running time.

It’s not like the third act reveals in Bardo takes center stage. Although I was aware of the device, I had trouble emotionally joining the mental conflict across neon-lit rooftops, sun-drenched resorts, and searing deserts. Iárritu establishes a barrier with this framework that his execution cannot cross.

Bardo is visually stunning but emotionally numbing

The energetic cinematography of Darius Khondji, which rushes us through a meticulously orchestrated long take reminiscent of Iárritu’s sharply furious Birdman, enhances the euphoric images. This draws us into Silverio’s internal conflict and extrapolates it with dancing girls and heartbreaking reunions. The movie has a frigid sense of isolation, though.

We may well gape at their bizarreness as Silverio jumps from one surreal scene to another. For example, when Iárritu pulls an Aline and shows a big man shrunk down to a child’s size when Silverio confronts his dad (and his daddy issues). We might swoon during a musical scene as every partygoer moves heartfeltly to a David Bowie tune, echoing the hero’s hard-won but fleeting happiness. However, we can’t approach too close due to this thing’s coolness.

Iárritu injects a gloomy bemusement into this sugary strangeness, searching for humor in scenes of tragedy, defeat, and even genocide. One remarkable instance occurs at the film’s beginning when Silverio and his wife (Griselda Siciliani) must deal with losing their infant child.

Uncomfortable hilarity emerges from a gory birthing episode where a CGI infant confesses that “the world is too screwed up” and kindly wants to be returned to his mother’s womb instead of a dismal sequence of heartbreaking drama. The physicians comply, resulting in some gynecological physical comedy that is at first funny and shocking before lurching into a gross-out farce as the bewildered mother stumbles down a hospital hallway with the umbilical cord trailing her, a crimson, meaty annoyance.

Bardo’s sense of humor is dark and risky

This comedy is incredibly uncomfortable and seems to imply that there is nothing else we can do in the face of such gloom but laugh. And throughout Bardo, there are times when we might laugh in defiance of the absurdity of life, our mortality, and the pointless fights we choose as our time in this broken world flies by.

However, three or five more sequences slog by with enormous ideas but decreasing returns for everyone that clicks, whether it’s through being gently eerie or thrillingly funny.

The actors, for their part, jump in headfirst without concern for metaphorical drowning. The family, which includes Silverio’s older children, Ximena Lamadrid and Ker Sánchez Solano, quarrels with sincerity but also tends to become ludicrous. Cacho leads the movie with a calm assurance that makes him an engaging guide through this existential crisis. But I wasn’t able to grasp hold of the film’s ardent slipperiness and feel rather than merely witness his trauma.

In the end, Bardo is more mentally challenging than emotionally taxing. Although not entirely compelling, it is psychologically intriguing. It explores a man at war with himself in a surreal way. Iárritu doesn’t appear to know what it means to win or lose that struggle, though, in the end.

Therefore, perhaps the voyage matters more than the final goal. And if that’s the case, the road to Bardo is bumpy, filled with emotional and outrageous moments, long stretches of ponderous conversations, and tiresome boredom. Your results may differ.

Final Phases

With an expansion on November 18, Bardo False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths was released on November 4 in theatres. Netflix will offer the movie on December 16.

Looking for something else to watch? Check out our website for the best Netflix series and movies.