“Whoever looks for the truth deserves punishment for finding it.”
Just to be forewarned, this review is going to be one of my most “movie poster quotable” reviews of all time. That being said, 21 Grams is a rip-roaring roller coaster of a film. This movie will suck you in like a fat family at the $4 all you can eat buffet. Pick a movie cliche and you would probably be right on with your description of this movie.
Paul Rivers (Sean Penn) plays a man who is waiting on the transplant list for a new heart. His wife, Mary (Charlotte Gainsbourg), fears he won’t live so they decide she wants to get artificially impregnated with his child. When the doctor informs Mary that she will more than likely be unable to get pregnant because of a previously botched abortion that Paul didn’t know about, the relationship really hits the fan.
Jack Jordan (Benicio del Toro who steals the show, in my opinion) plays a man who has been a lifelong criminal. Over the past few years he has worked hard to become a good man, yet he still struggles to get his life together because of his criminal record. He, along with his wife Marianne (Melissa Leo), struggle to raise a family with little income and little hope. Yet, through religion, the family is able to maintain some sort of sanity before another obstacle arises that will truly test their faith and convictions.
Cristina Peck (Naomi Watts) leads a very normal surburban life. She has a loving husband and adorable twin daughters. Add that to the fact that her family is financially well off and you can see she has it very good until something truly horrific rips her family apart and changes the course of her life forever.
The fun in watching 21 Grams isn’t the story, but rather, the way the plot seems to come together at the end. Much like Pulp Fiction or Memento, you don’t exactly know where the story is going until the end when it all comes together and makes sense. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who also directed Amores Perros which I’ve been dying to see, does a spectacular job with this movie. If this is any indication of the quality of is work, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for señor Iñárritu.
Video & Sound
While the movie is presented in 1.85 anamorphic widescreen, I can’t quite figure out what the deal is with this movie? It has a quite grainy look. While I’m not sure if the look was done that way intentionally, I do know that it doesn’t stack up with most movies put out on DVD today. Stylistically, it reminds me quite a bit of the movie Traffic. The majority of the film is, once again, dialogue so the sound isn’t all that important. It does sound pretty good, though, but you won’t be using this disc to show off that new surround sound system to your friends.
Zero… zip… zilch… nada. There isn’t even a trailer to be found. It was supposed to have two documentaries 21 Grams: In Fragments and The Making of 21 Grams, yet at the 11th hour both were pulled mysteriously. Why, you ask? Ah yes… the inevitable dvd double dip which the director has already confirmed. I’ve been burned before (Resevoir Dogs, Scarface, Memento, Trainspotting, Traffic…) and I’ll be burned again (next week with Kill Bill Vol. 1). Such is the life of a DVD collector.
A great movie gets a disappointing dvd release. If you’re not much into extras, I highly recommend picking this up. Otherwise, wait about six months to a year and I’d bet you’ll get a nice special edition. Regardless, thanks to great acting and great direction, this is one of the must see films from 2003, so don’t sleep on it.
Movies – 9
Video & Sound – 7
Extras – 0
Overall – 6