21 Grams

( 10 )

Overview

Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu makes his first English-language feature with the downbeat drama 21 Grams. 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...
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Overview

Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu makes his first English-language feature with the downbeat drama 21 Grams. 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 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. 21 Grams was shown in competition at the 2003 Venice International Film Festival.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; 21 Grams: In Fragments - an insightful look at the making of the film
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Extraordinarily fine acting and a gripping if disjunctive story distinguish this emotionally wrenching film from Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, whose Amores Perros 2000 heralded the arrival of an exciting new talent. Like the earlier movie, 21 Grams revolves around three disparate people and a tragic car accident that alters their lives forever. Sean Penn stars as a mathematician who, dying of a heart condition, desperately needs a transplant; Naomi Watts plays a married mother struggling with drug addiction; and Benicio del Toro essays the role of a former convict who relies on his newfound religious fundamentalism to keep him on the straight-and-narrow. Telling how their lives intersect would be giving away too much plot, but we can reveal that they come together in a profoundly sad way. Iñárritu uses fractured chronology to give us disjointed bits and pieces of the tale, a jigsaw-puzzle technique that pays off in the end but requires attentive viewing. He darts back and forth in time, revealing key moments in the lives of his principal characters but making us wait till story's end to learn how and why they add up. 21 Grams is full of human suffering and anguish, and like Iñárritu's breakout film, it seems morbidly preoccupied with death and fate -- but at the bottom it's about the innate ability of people to find a glimmer of hope in even the most hopeless situations. And the acting is commendable -- Penn and del Toro are great as usual, but Oscar-nominated Watts is a revelation. 21 Grams has something important to say about the human condition, and Iñárrita says it with the consummate style and sensitivity of a true art
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Thanks to strong acting and a solid screenplay, 21 Grams is intellectually and emotionally compelling, even as the editing style hinders it from being as engaging as it could be. Guillermo Arriaga's script for Alejandro González Iñárritu's 21 Grams was written chronologically, but with the knowledge that the story line would be fractured in the editing room. There are no bad scenes in the film. The actors all bring a gravitas to the material that grounds the film in what feels like truth, if not necessarily reality. Benicio Del Toro uses his expressive physical presence to reveal his character's inner conflict, effectively communicating a variety of inner states with little more than his posture. While Naomi Watts' character suffers the most in the film, she expresses an inner strength even in her most defeated moments that keeps the character compelling. Although she endures the most horrible life events, she is the one that seems most able to survive. She never loses control, she simply is so worn down that she begins to make bad decisions. Sean Penn is saddled with the most difficult role of the three, as his character is little more than a plot device. His survivor's guilt drives the story forward, but there are so many other actions for which the man should feel guilty that the character loses a three-dimensionality that the other two possess. Despite its fractured narrative, 21 Grams is at heart an old-fashioned melodrama. By aggressively chopping up the order that the events in the film are presented to the audience, Iñárritu sacrifices letting the three main characters' emotional arcs affect the viewer. However, the style does succeed in keeping the audience in the moment of each of the scenes, something that might be difficult for an audience member if he or she were feeling overwhelmed by the many tragic events that precede any given scene. Iñárritu may enjoy telling a story in this way, but he does not allow his audience to feel the full weight of 21 Grams.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/3/2006
  • UPC: 025193013620
  • Original Release: 2003
  • Rating:

  • Source: Focus Features
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Special Edition / Wide Screen / Subtitled / Dubbed
  • Sound: DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Time: 2:05:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 61,331

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sean Penn Paul
Benicio Del Toro Jack
Naomi Watts Christine
Charlotte Gainsbourg Mary
Melissa Leo Marianne
Clea Duvall Claudia
Danny Huston Michael
Paul Calderon Brown
Teresa Delgado Gina
Eddie Marsan
Marc Musso Freddy
Technical Credits
Alejandro González Iñárritu Director, Producer
Guillermo Arriaga Associate Producer, Screenwriter
Brigitte Broch Production Designer
Jose Antonio Garcia Sound/Sound Designer
James Alan Hensz Asst. Director
Ted Hope Executive Producer
Francine Maisler Casting
Stephen Mirrione Editor
Rodrigo Prieto Cinematographer
Deborah Riley Art Director
Robert Salerno Producer
Gustavo Santaolalla Score Composer
Michael Steele Asst. Director
Marlene Stewart Costumes/Costume Designer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- 21 Grams [Collector's Edition]
1. Mom Is Waiting for Us [4:03]
2. So This Is Death's Waiting Room? [3:12]
3. Jesus Is Our Hope [4:04]
4. Call an Ambulance [3:09]
5. Washing the Past [4:01]
6. There's No Hitting in This House [3:39]
7. Nobody Saw Him [4:39]
8. Have You Been Drinking? [4:39]
9. Heart-to-Heart [7:03]
10. Duty Bound [4:43]
11. The First Day of My New Life [2:13]
12. Life Does Not Go On [4:19]
13. Original Owner [2:55]
14. Bled Dry [2:02]
15. God Even Knows When a Single Hair Moves... [2:09]
16. Going to Heaven [2:46]
17. Your Friend [3:38]
18. Did You Bring What I Asked You For? [2:40]
19. Making Plans [4:38]
20. Coming Home [4:07]
21. Hidden Numbers [1:39]
22. You Shouldn't Have Done It [4:13]
23. Can I See You Again? [3:40]
24. A Good Heart [11:33]
25. Lack of Evidence [3:48]
26. Daddy, a Pigeon! [3:32]
27. Despair [1:55]
28. Red Shoelaces [4:12]
29. You're Pregnant [:56]
30. How Many Times? [5:06]
31. 21 Grams [2:43]
32. End Titles [6:18]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- 21 Grams [Collector's Edition]
   Scenes
   Bonus Materials
      21 Grams: In Fragments
   Languages
      Spoken Languages: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
      Spoken Languages: English 5.1 DTS
      Spoken Languages: Français 5.1 Dolby Digital
      Subtitles: English SDH
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Off
   Play
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

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2 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Brilliant

    This is probably my favorite Inaritu film. As most everyone else here, I too was confused at the beginning but that was part of the fun. At least the film was given to you on a platter in typical cookie cutter fashion. This one has brains and deep deep emotion. Top notch acting and intense storytelling. Don't miss it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    EDITING KILLED THIS FILM

    I AM A FAN OF THIS FILM'S DIRECTOR OTHER WORK, BUT THIS ONE IS JUST NOT WORTH SEEING. THE EDITING KILLS THE FILM, AND IS THE ONLY REASON PEOPLE WOULD WANT TO WATCH THE ENTIRE FILM BECAUSE THE END RESULT OF THE FILM IS GIVEN. THE ACTING IS FINE, BUT THIS IS MAGEZINE OR A SHORT STORY THAT IS STRETCHED OUT. YEAH, THE STORY IS GRIPPING, BUT ITS PACE AND JUMP EDITING RUINS IT. IT SEEMS SEAN PENN MADE TWO STINKERS BACK TO BACK WITH THIS AND "ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Suffered through it

    My Goodness, this film was bad. Not only did I get tired of the back and forth plot, the storyline made no sense to me. I was like, "huh??" through the whole thing. My husband felt it was a classic, though. Just not for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I like this movie

    This is a good movie with terrific acting. Being partially filmed in Memphis, the ending scenes in the desert are way out of place and took me out of the movie because the scenes look like they were shot as an afterthought and the actors had really bad make-up artists who couldn't replicate the actor's look from the rest of the film. Example, look at Benecio's hair.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A brilliantly acted piece of art!

    I saw this film in theatres and it was moving and electrifying! Sean Penn gives his usual performance of intense, yet somewhat bordered angst. He is the plot key to this film. Benicio del Toro gives another fine performance that is worn on his face. You can see the guilt just by looking at him. Naomi Watts gives a charged performance that gives the film its true blood and guts. She captures the damaged spirit of Christina without letting her lose control.(Especially when she gives the wrenching metaphorical 'paralyzed/amputee' outburst.) Brillianty and consistently acted. The bad thing is that somehow you don't really feel the true weight of it. Could it be the narrative for which this film is known for?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Tedious Film in Search of aTheme

    Although Alejandro González Iñárritu's film is strongly performed by the talents of Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Benicio del Toro, the sketchy non-linear plot and unrefined screenplay leave the audience tired and wanting for more. The plot follows the lives of three people and how they tragically intertwine. Sean Penn is a math teacher who needs a heart transplant. After a tragic accident where a born-again ex-con (Del Torro) kills a mother's (Watts) children and husband, Sean Penn receives the deceased father's heart and begins to return to full health. Penitent at being a hit-and-run driver, Benicio Del Torro is torn between his duty to his family, to God, and to society. In the mean time, Sean Penn begins to be amourosly involved with the donor's widow who's now returning to a cycle of drug addiction. Wrought with guilt and a sense of debt to the widow, Sean Penn promises to seek revenge on the hit-and-run driver who killed her family by killing him. The use of a non-linear plot is a good technique in showing how the three characters are joined together by disparate events which, at first, seem to have no correlation. Unfortunately, the choppy plot frutstrates the thematic elements of the story. After more than 2 hours, a depressed audience is left wondering as to what the message of this film is. Is it that life has a purpose or no purpose? That God is indifferent to human suffering and His actions without reason or purpose? Or is it that tragedy brings people together to a higher consciousness? The only indication of a theme is the narrator's reference to the soul weighing 21 grams. This would make sense if the film is about the power of religious faith or the need for spiritual salvation but neither of these elements are competently developed or explored. The plot never really develops any thematic message at all. Altogether a depressive film that conveys no clear message and leaves the audience wanting. I don't recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Sean Penn does not disappoint here

    Sean Penn proves his acting ability in this one. The entire cast is great. It takes a while for the movie to come together, but it is a really great show as it unfolds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Don't Miss 21 Grams

    21 Grams is a must see film. I admit that when I saw it, I spent the first twenty or so minutes wondering just exactly what the movie was about--------but be patient! The director leads us down a twisting road, but when the pieces of the characters' lives come together----everything falls into place. Sean Penn, Benecio Del Toro and Naomi Watts are sensational. 21 Grams is one of the most emotional and heart-wrenching films I've ever seen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews