A tragic accident brings together three unlikely people, but leaves a father and his two daughters dead. Christina (Naomi Watts) is a recovering substance abuser who loses her two young daughters and the man that kept her clean. Old habits die hard as she hits the bottle and alters her state of mind with some hallucingenics. Meanwhile, Paul (Sean Penn), awaits death until a midnight page changes his life. Christina had donated her husband’s heart for transplant, and the organ soon beats again inside Paul’s chest. Feeling a large debt of gratitude toward Christina, Paul soon conspires to help kill the man that had taken her family away. Jack (Benicio Del Toro) is a small time criminal who becomes a devout Christian believing and believes God had planned for this horrible accident. He sees himself as being tested by the Lord for his past mistakes. Their lives become intertwined and climaxes with a desperate struggle for a gun.
What we said then:
21 Grams isn’t cluttered with an abundance of special effects or overshadowed by an epic love story. Instead, the film is grounded by amazing performances and the dark themes of revenge, grief and violence.
Sean Penn and Naomi Watts deliver the best roles of their careers, while Benicio Del Toro builds on the promise of his Academy Award winning role in Traffic. Watts lights up the screen with her portrayal of a modern-day Florence Henderson who transforms into a drug addict after death strikes close to home.
Mexican director Alejandro GonzÃ¡lez IÃ±Ã¡rritu convincingly captures these three individuals coming together through tragedy, while mastering non-linear storytelling. This style of fragmented plot structure turns 21 Grams into a cinematic puzzle that doesn’t become clear until all the pieces are in place. (Jan. 8)
Strangely 21 Grams comes equipped with no extra features. Universal stripped the disc, releasing the Academy Award nominated picture with not as much as a commentary. The DVD was slated to boast a slim selection of special features, but instead, the studio has decided to release a special edition version later this year. But that doesn’t leave much incentive for fans or those curious. Without any supplements many buyers will be repelled, and others will feel like they’re getting ripped. The DVD is testing whether a good picture is enough for consumers who are always looking for the bigger and better buys.