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21 Grams (2003) DVD

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21 Grams (2003)


 Alejandro González Iñárritu


 Guillermo Arriaga


 Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro, Naomi Watts
This melodrama by the Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu is a ruminative, stunned look at life after death — that is, the existence of the living after they have been devastated by loss. It's the aftermath. The actors playing the characters who have been rocked by catastrophe don't sink to theatrical histrionics; instead they're linked by the red-eyed, unblinking stare of zombies, and they shamble through their day-by-day activities as if saddled with death wishes they are too enervated to act upon. This is American Existentialism. The stars achieve something that doesn't sound as if it's possible: a virtuosity in the depiction of people wasting away minute by minute. Be prepared for it. You won't come out unaffected, because the depths of intimacy that the director plumbs here are so rarely touched by filmmakers that "21 Grams" is tantamount to the discovery of a new country. Prof. Paul Rivers (Sean Penn) is suffering from a damaged heart, which is about to give out on him, and the transplant he receives so consumes him with guilt that he's like a death-row prisoner with a horrible secret who's been pardoned. He still believes he deserves to die. Cristina (Naomi Watts), a reformed party girl, has returned to her fallen ways after taking up with Paul. She's lost her family in an auto accident. And Jack (Benicio Del Toro) is a shaggy, trembling mountain of anger he can barely contain. His already tenuous grasp on sobriety is slipping away even faster since being involved in a terrible incident. Working with the screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga and the bewilderingly versatile cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto — the team he assembled for his debut feature, "Amores Perros" — Mr. González Iñárritu once again deals with three scenarios connected by one far-reaching cataclysm. It's too early to call it a crowning work of a career — this is only his second film — but it may well be the crowning work of this year.
Here is the link to the film at the Internet Movie database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0315733/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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