*** Official 21 GRAMS Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Adam_S, Dec 7, 2003.

  1. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    21 Grams
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of four (classic)

    21 Grams sucker punched me and took me on an incredible journey—this didn’t feel like storytelling, it felt like a vividly remembered past, moments mish mashed together as we silently observe and try to understand how a single event can change so many lives.

    There is a moment in Benicio del Toro’s first scene when we look into his face, stare into his eyes as he earnestly tries to convey why and what he believes to a someone that doesn’t want to hear it. Looking into those eyes, I was disappointed, I myself could not accept what Jack was saying, there was no belief behind the eyes, he felt like someone striving to recite what he’s been taught—just so—but not really understanding. Not really feeling the resonance of that belief hum through every fiber of his being as an unshakable foundation that proves for himself that ‘this’ is true. None of that is in Jack’s eyes, and I think del Toro is capable of conveying it. I was immediately turned off, thinking this was going to be a movie that went for the cheap portrayal of Christianity as hypocritical, empty, and just a little bit sleazy. But no, that’s not at all what the movie goes for, and it’s not concerned with expressing opinions about faith. It is concerned with understanding the humanity in all the characters. And it wasn’t until the film’s end that I came to realize how good del Toro’s acting in that first scene was. Del Toro is acting out a character who is acting like he believes but doesn’t, deep acting that is difficult to pull off. The changes Jack undergoes throughout the film are just as breathtaking as the other stunning performances in the film.

    Paul (Sean Penn) is lost. He’s a swimmer that has long since given up trying to make it back to shore. He’s not even content to be towed back in by someone attempting to save his life, but feebly attempts to break free and drift his remaining moments in blissful agony. Resentment, anger, desperation and the unending question of ‘why’ echo through his character.

    Naomi Watts has her life back under control. The enduring strength of her husband and the joy she has discovered in two daughters have her out of a much less ideal life and into something she can hardly believe is real. Inevitability. Her character seems to rage against what she already can’t believe. Is it a dream? a dream too precious to ever wake from, not when there is so much that is garish and course to pound reality in through her pores. So she reaches for an old friend (or a cruel trickster) who lets her dream easier and more often.

    They are sinking with the weight of 21 grams, too much to carry.

    I can’t really express what it is about this movie that lets it work so well. Because it’s the little moments, like Marianne Jordan washing Jack’s car that really drive home everything that makes this film work. And it’s moments like that which would not work if this film presented itself in a linear normal manner. But because these ordinary lives come to us in such an unusual manner we can see the agony and ecstasy of 21 grams of significance of every single life. Faith, life, death, love, family, lovers: what does 21 grams mean to you?


    Adam
     
  2. Nick C.

    Nick C. Second Unit

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    Strong acting all around, the fractured structure worked pretty well, helping visualize the transformations of the characters over time. Much more emotionally affecting and appealing to me than Amores Perros, nothing against that piece of work.

    I liked the paralleling discovery that's revealed at the end--assuming Cristina's baby was fathered by Paul--as it evokes the death and rebirth we partly saw yearned for by Paul's British girlfriend


    Just a sidenote, did Naomi Watts have some allergic reaction during the shooting? she seems to have puffy cheeks/corners of the mouth throughout the picture
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "21 Grams". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Overally, I thought it was okay in some respects, good in others, but the characters aren't as compelling or of interest to me due to the fractured way of the story unfolded. The direction by Innaritu is good, and so are the performances by the 3 leads (Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Benecio del Toro). I just feel that the story let down the performances.

    I give it a 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.
     
  5. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    This is the review I wrote in November for the 2003 independent film thread:

     
  6. Jefe Noche

    Jefe Noche Stunt Coordinator

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    WOW!!!!!!!

    Best film and performance I've seen this year. All the acting is top notch, but Naomi Watts just blew my mind. She better, at the very least, get a nomination.
     
  7. Sean Cauley

    Sean Cauley Stunt Coordinator

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    I liked the performances of the actors a great deal, but I wasn't blown away by the story. I think a large part of that comes from having read quite a bit about the film's plot several months before its release (back when it was playing the Toronto Film Festival). So when scenes from late in the story were cut into the film in its early moments, I knew what they were about, and not much came as a surprise to me throughout.

    I think that if someone goes into the film without any knowledge of the plot's developments, he/she could easily be blown away. But with the film's element of surprise taken away from it, it just becomes another of those movies whose performances are brilliant but whose subject matter is so depressing you probably won't want to see it again (In the Bedroom is another in this category).

    Still, I'd say three stars (of four).
     

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