Tuesday, March 23, 2010
21 grams is directed by Alejandro Gonzalez. The movie interweaves several plot lines, around the consequence of a tragic road accident. Sean Penn plays a critically ill mathematician, Naomi Watts a grief stricken mother and wife and Benicio del Toro a born again Christian ex convict. The movie is presented in a non linear arrangement where the lives of the characters are shown before and after the accident. Each of them has a past, present and a future story which is shown in non linear fragments, which all finally converge at the end of the story. The title 21 grams refers to the small loss of body weight, representing the departure of the soul, immediately following death, which is what Penn’s Paul Rivers soliloquises at the end. Jack Jordan played by del Toro is an ex convict who is caught in a hit and run accident involving Cristina peck’s husband and two girls which result in their death. Paul is critically ill who urgently needs a heart transplant and he is given the heart of Cristina’s husband. It is a complex narrative style and the plot is largely incomprehensible for the first 45 minutes. This unfamiliar and complicated way of telling a story is difficult to grasp immediately and requires a lot of attention on the part of the audience; thus this format is both the film’s blessing and curse. It is not exactly a Saturday night popcorn flick and requires the audience’s active participation. There is strong and raw emotional burden but that makes the movie even better. There is a strong performance by all three of the main cast and no one lets down. Penn and del Tore excellently portrayed the troubled souls but Watts as Cristina Peck brings home the damaged goods: a one time party girl to a wife and a mother whose life is damaged beyond repair enhances her status as a leading lady and she deserved both the nominations for the best supporting actress at the Oscars and at the BAFTA for the best actress category.