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21 Grams – The Best Thing You’ll Ever See

by on January 13, 2013

You probably know Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu as the director of Amores Perros. With 21 Grams, Iñárritu makes his first English-language feature. Set in an unnamed U.S. urban center, the film uses a nonlinear structure to piece together the intertwined lives of three very different people. Paul (Sean Penn) is a math teacher with a heart problem and a troubled marriage to British wife Mary (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Christine (Naomi Watts) is a former drug addict who lives with her husband, Michael (Danny Huston), and her daughters. Jack (Benicio del Toro) is a ex-con, born-again Christian with a wife (Melissa Leo) who has stood by him since his days as a criminal. Following a tragic accident, the three main characters are thrown into each other’s lives.

Dripping with cinematic style, Iñárritu creates a world that you won’t easily forget. But not because of the usual reasons you don’t forget movies. 21 Grams is a world of dystopia. A place where hope is run over by a truck every time it tries to cross over to the other side of the road. Iñárritu, along with Gustavo Santaolalla (music director) didn’t make film scenes; they made emotions with every second of the reel. Inarritu uses a hand-held camera and directs with a simple, intimate, very pure feeling similar in style to the Dogma 95 movies. The dull colours, the cold surroundings, along with Santaolalla’s droning sighs of a man’s last breath, makes this entire paragraph redundant because there is no way I can describe the feelings in words.

Penn gives one of the most sensitive performances of his career. He usually plays characters who are not as smart as he is, but here he is completely convincing as a math professor, and he shows us an extraordinary range of subtle and complex emotions. Watts and Del Toro are also outstanding. Naomi Watt’s portrayal of a distraught woman who’s lost everything that matters to her, is one of the best efforts by an actor I’ve seen in all time.

It is a story of love and redemption, “21 Grams” uses muted colors, stark landscapes and simple shots to add to the film’s haunting feel. See “21 Grams” with someone who loves to discuss films. Its poignant story will leave you needing to talk about the shared experience. I am willing to bet good money that 21 Grams is or will be the most powerful film you’ll ever see.

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From → films

One Comment
  1. True each & every word of that.
    It’s one of my fav.movies as well :)..
    Nice blog.
    Bookmarked!

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