Paul Rivers (Sean Penn) is ill, desperately waiting for someone to die who is a suitable heart donor, while his wife Mary (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is waiting for a chance to have a baby, but it seems it won\'t happen naturally. Nor is their relationship likely to last. Cristina Peck (Naomi Watts) is convulsed and traumatised by the accidental death of her husband and two little daughters in a hit and run, with driver Jack (Benicio del Toro) mortified and guilt ridden about the event. Despite his wife\'s (Melissa Leo) pleas, Jack wants to give himself up.
 

5
The sublime performances will move you and disturb you.

With one successful feature in Spanish, Amores Perros, Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has made his second feature in English with Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio del Toro. It's 21 Grams. In a confusing mosaic of short scenes introducing the central characters in non-sequential moments we learn that Jack Jordan, Benicio del Toro, is a former crim who's now fervently embraced Christianity. Paul Rivers, Sean Penn, is an academic who needs a heart transplant to survive. His wife Mary, Charlotte Gainsbourg, wants to have his child through artificial insemination, but you sense a reluctance on his part. Chris, Naomi Watts, is a woman in a state of intense grief, she reverts to drug taking to ease the pain. These three characters are connected through one horrific incident.

Every decision made by director Inarritu seems perfect, including his choice of performers.



The grainy look of the film, the inevitable pull towards the colours of grey/blue, the hand held work of cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto gives a powerful immediacy to this story of fate, love, death and rebirth. It's a tough tale, agonisingly painful for most of its length as it grapples with some sense of meaning to the lives of these three people who have death hovering around them in one form or another. \

It's a fantastic screenplay from Guillermo Arriaga, the writer of Amores Perros, and every decision made by director Inarritu seems perfect, including his choice of performers. They are all outstanding, Penn has never been better, Naomi Watts is simply sublime and del Toro just wonderful. The talent is felt through the whole depth of the cast. The soundtrack is a work of art.


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Details

MA15+
2 hours 4 min

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