21 Grams is the middle of the three movies in the thematic trilogy by IÃ±Ã¡rritu (director) and Arriaga (writer). The first thing you will notice about the movie is that it doesn’t move chronologically. You will see characters at their prime and then at their worse, and then back at their prime. In fact, it isn’t until the middle of the movie that you realize some characters are the same people (because of their vastly different appearance and apparent state of mind). This device works for the movie because the nature of the plot almost requires it. Suffice it to say, if the story were told in order, it wouldn’t be as interesting.
The most impressive part of the movie, to me, is the performance by the three main characters: Paul (Benicio Del Toro). As stated above, each character has two very different sides. The way the actors can make both of these contrasting sides believable is just amazing to behold. The transformations are sometimes unsettling to behold (seeing someone go from so well-off to utterly distraught, etc.). Aside from this, the movie is also rather rewarding in that you feel good about putting all the pieces of the puzzle together toward the end (it really isn’t difficult to, but seeing all of them come together before your eyes just feels great). I also love the ending… it straight-out gives you the theme of the movie via a narration, but it doesn’t feel forced and I think it works remarkably well. For those who like to think a lot after seeing a movie, it also includes a good amount of profundity in its themes.
As for the bad, this movie doesn’t have much of it. There are times when the plot lags, but as long as you stay with it, it will pick right back up again. I don’t think the non-chronological story telling is particularly difficult to follow, but if you don’t pay attention you will likely get lost. Aside from that, there is really nothing to complain about. Simply put, I loved this movie and felt that the the actors did an incredible job. I consider this to be one of my Top Ten movies of all time.
RATING: 10 / 10