RATED - (R) -124-MIN-2003
What do we lose in 21 Grams?
In many ways, Alejandro G. Iñárritu's 21 grams is his darkest film and that's saying something. Structured very much like his other movies, the narrative is fractured, jumping from the present back to the past, as events slowly unravel the picture being told. Starring (Sean Penn), (Naomi Watts) and (Benicio Del Toro), 21 Grams tells the intertwining, tragic, story of these three people. A horrible event will take place, not long into this film, and to divulge more details, would be wrong.
(Penn) is: Paul Rivers, a mathematician, who is in desperate need of a heart transplant and lives with his lonely English wife, who wants a child with Paul before he dies. They are waiting for a heart donor, even thought Paul sneaks cigarettes all the time, while on an oxygen tent. He already looks half dead, and he is not happy with his marriage.
(Watts) plays: Christina Peck, an upper-middle-class housewife, with a loving husband and two young daughters. There is a history with major addiction for Christina, that comes back later. (Del Toro) plays: Jack Jordan a counselor, ex-addict, and criminal, who tries to get the young punks he talks to at a local church, not make the same mistakes he has made. He is pissing against the wind and he knows it. He lives with his wife and two young kids. Jack is hanging on by a thread, living a poor life, but he has faith in the Lord. God will show him the way.
Most of Iñárritu's movies are not an easy watch, but if you stay with (21 Grams) and deal with the unpleasantries, you will be rewarded with an early, gritty and heartbreaking film, by one of the most innovative and visionary directors of our time. Unlike many stories, which skirt over painful moments, Iñárritu shows us the scabs and wounds and the painful, long process the characters need to go through after a horrible tragedy. This is not a film with any convenient answers as to why these things happen; simply, that life is full of heartbreak, tragedy and sadness....and then asks...what happens next?...how do we move forward?
That's an unpleasant place to go, with tough questions to answer, but all of the three main leads go for broke in the roles and each of them are brilliant in their portrayals in different ways. This is a sad story about the burden we carry as humans. Our greatest gift is our most significant weakness; the ability to love, and then mourn when the people we care about, are either no longer there in an instant or are physically there, but not emotionally anymore.
You should see this movie.