21 Grams

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21 Grams
Review (9.5/10)
(By Alex Riviello)

21 Grams. It's the weight of 5 nickels, a chocolate bar, a hummingbird. They say it's the exact amount of weight you lose upon the moment of your death. Is it your soul? Where does it go? Who is it carried by? This movie tries to answer these questions...by showing you how people are affected by death.

21 Grams is a puzzle, with each scene a different piece. To give away any of the plot would ruin the movie for you. It's an experience, almost bordering on detective work, as you try and put together what happened, and when. The movie bombards you with scene after scene, with little or no explanation of anyone's backstory. From the start it shows you just little glimpses into the lives of some characters, with no explanation why they are important or how they all connect. The fact that it jumps back and forth in time doesn't help. It's not until the middle of the film that you finally get a handle on what exactly is going on. But this is the film's greatest strength - it all makes sense. You will be confused in the beginning, but as you start to figure it out you realize just how well crafted this film is.

This is director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's second movie, and first English language film. From what he's shown in the movie alone - this is a guy to watch out for. This is a filmmaker who knows what he's doing. There isn't a bit of fat in this movie; every scene serves a purpose. He's already mastered the art of saying everything with just a picture. It's really one of the best shot films I've seen in a while. And I don't know how he managed to get such a great cast together but they go together perfectly. All of the 3 leads (Penn, Del Toro and Watts) do some of their best work to date.

Since the film is basically a study of how these 3 people react to a death, it's imperative that their performances are convincing. There are no problems in that department. You really feel for these people and the situation that they've been thrust into. There's a lot of powerful stuff here, and some of it is hard (emotionally) to get through - that's how fantastic the actors are here. If there's any justice in the world this movie will get a slew of Oscar nominations.

If this is playing around you, and you consider yourself a fan of movies, you owe it to yourself to check out 21 Grams. The way the story unfolds will have you anticipating every new scene...and dreading it at the same time. It is one of the most original, intense, and flat out great movies I have watched in a long time. Go see it.


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