There is one great flaw here that almost everyone mentions... and it's true. The accents of the non-Spanish actors clash terribly with the Spanish ones, as well as with each other. That's a real flaw, but if you can get past that, there's a great film waiting to be seen. I found I forgot all about it after the first 10 minutes. The critics just don't get this film. A lot of regular people seem to miss it too. They want a film with a typical "leading" role. They want their morality tales (which this certainly IS) delivered in easy shades of Black and White... no gray. They don't understand films where the title character is primarily an Observer. Sometimes that CAN be dissatisfying, but here the Observer is a genuine genius. Some people want him to be a moral giant, but he's not, he's simply an observer who has actualized the doctor's oath: First, do no harm. This is a brilliant story, and a morally complex one, too. There are some parallels to America in Iraq, though that is not the primary goal. This story illuminates the folly of any regime, liberal or conservative, as each picks its friends and foes, taking 180 degree turns from whoever was last in power. Javier Bardem gives an incredibly canny performance! Natalie Portman is totally unsentimental and totally committed to her multiple roles: just great! Stellan Skarsgard threw me off at first with the sound of his voice, but builds a performance of power and truth, in spite of it. Randy Quaid was a small revelation. And of course the film looks and sounds spectacular, with it's numerous and detailed textures, compositions and sounds. If you want to think; if you like having pat assumptions challenged; if you love people and history and art: see it!