21 Grams

Viewed – 25 August 2010  DVD

Always wanted to see this, mostly down to it having one of my favourite actresses in it, Naomi Watts.  Yet I had never got around to it until now.  Following what at first appear to be 3 unrelated stories, former drug addict Watts now married with two kids, an ex-con whose found God (Benicio Del Toro) and a heart-transplant patient on the brink of death (Sean Penn).  One tragic incident then has a devastating effect on all 3 characters lives and ultimately brings them together.  Told with a fractured narrative where it isn’t at first clear if you are viewing events from the past, present or future, with no actual explanation of when things are set, this thought-provoking drama could alienate some, who could first have a ‘I can’t make head nor tail of this’ reaction to it.  Yet I seriously urge you to stick with it, because like a puzzle, the pieces slowly begin to fall into place, and hopefully like me you’ll have a ‘I get it!’ moment of realisation, coming away amazed by the movie’s intelligence and raw, emotional power.

Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s movie boasts three incredible performances from its three main cast members, with a career defining Naomi Watts, even better than her amazing turn in Mulholland Drive, and with moments of intensity and totally convincing acting, this is one of those movies where all 3 should have got Oscars.  Sean Penn can add another great role to his already heavy-weight CV, and the often underrated Del Toro proves himself yet again as someone with real range and talent.  Not exactly cheery subject matter, I admit and has some strong scenes of violence and sex, but the authentic approach, fly on the wall style and heart-breaking twists and turns left me, in a word … astonished.

Verdict:  5 /5

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