In Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s hallucinatory trip to the land between life and death, Amazon is buying Baja California, and you can have a philosophical discussion with the conquistador Hernán Cortés atop a hillock of corpses. You meet your long-gone father in the bathroom of a large hall filled to capacity with your peers who want to give you an important prize and shrink down to the size of a boy while retaining middle-aged features. Your dead infant son keeps reappearing, often from between your wife’s legs, still very much alive.
These and dozens of other dream images are filmed in a seamless wide-screen format that fish-eyes toward its outer edges. They are what Silverio Gama, a stand-in for the director, sees in his last days after suffering a massive stroke on a subway train in LA.
Whether you will be entranced, confused, or put off by Iñárritu’s latest deep dive into his own subconscious depends on whether you prefer your movies logical or lyrical, as well as how high your tolerance for unlikable and unrelatable protagonists is. Gama is a self-absorbed narcissist, and his visions are mostly self-serving, but I can’t deny their sweep and all-pervasive ambition. As long as you don’t think too long about some of the implications of what flashes past your eyeballs, this is a film to be dazzled by and lost in. In Spanish with subtitles. R, 159 min.