Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.74

Awesome34.51%
Worth A Look: 23.94%
Just Average: 26.76%
Pretty Crappy: 10.56%
Sucks: 4.23%

13 reviews, 64 user ratings


Latest Reviews

MFA by Jay Seaver

You Only Live Once by Jay Seaver

November (2017) by Jay Seaver

Friendly Beast by Jay Seaver

Foreigner, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

Tom of Finland by Rob Gonsalves

Happy Death Day by Jay Seaver

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene by Jay Seaver

Death Note: Light Up the New World by Jay Seaver

Brawl in Cell Block 99 by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed


21 Grams
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Jay Seaver

"Suddenly, there just had to be symbolism, and symmetry"
3 stars

You can't fault the acting in this movie. The cast is top-notch, and they perform up to their capacity. There's one from each good-actor category:

Sean Penn is a guy whose brilliance is widely known, and there's never a moment when his Paul Rivers isn't believable. He manages to balance the man's self-destructive tendencies with a certain amount of charm he can dig up when he needs it, along with a kind of surprise at his own ability to feel joy. Meanwhile, Benicio Del Toro is a "that guy" type, who has (since The Usual Suspects) appeared in what seems like two or three movies a year and seemed to be the best thing about them. He's not an A-list guy whose presense will sell a movie to the general public, but he does reassure people in the know. He plays Jack Jordan, perhaps the most interesting character - an ex-con who has found religion and seems to be on the straight and narrow. His strong religious views often seem a bit frightening, especially in the scenes with his family, but Del Toro creates the sense that they are all that is holding his worse nature back. He wants to be a good man so badly that his guilt when he feels he has failed that may destroy him. Meanwhile, Naomi Watts has sort of backed into being a movie star, mostly based on The Ring and Mulholland Drive (which was, of course, meant to be a TV show), but she's not just a pretty face. She's great, too, as Cristina Peck, a suburban wife and mother who loses her family and is unsure how to define herself afterwards, except in terms of grief. She gets most of the histrionics, as she's the one hit with the most loss and hurt, but never goes overboard with it.

There is a certain crowd that will grumble about the disjointed nature of the movie, how it's cut into many small scenes which are assembled in a non-chronological order. 21 Grams might be revealed as a fairly unremarkable story if recut to simply run from beginning to end, and doing otherwise just manipulates the audience. Of course, I'd argue that manipulating the audience is a filmmaker's job, and editing is as valid a tool as the close-up to accomplish it. Cutting it that way also shows the potential in people for many types of behavior, as opposed to making it entirely dependant on circumstance. When you don't find out why someone is doing something until later, it becomes a choice, as opposed to just following the script. It shifts the focus of the plot from "what will happen" to "why and how will it happen", which is clearly what the filmmakers want.

Indeed, this might be a four-star movie except for the end. I won't reveal it, but it's as though telling a good story about interesting people suddenly became not enough; suddenly, there had to be symbolism, and symmetry, and a voice-over about the soul. I suppose it can fit in with what I said in the previous paragraph, that people can do anything in a given situation, even if it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it left me feeling empty.

The story ends with an utterly symbolic gesture, after a fairly unpretentious previous hour-forty-five. It's not a bad ending, per se, just neither the most likely one or the most fulfilling one.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8348&reviewer=371
originally posted: 06/03/04 19:19:40
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

2/04/17 Aidan Butler Sean Penn character destroys logic of movie 3 stars
1/01/13 Davie bummer. 2 stars
11/25/10 Sia Shar one of great movies of the 2003 and the decade 5 stars
9/17/08 PAUL SHORTT CRUSHES ITS CHARACTERS UNDER ITS FOOT, THEN STEPS BACK & WANTS YOU TO LOOK AT THE MESS 1 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner This movie was Awesome!! Loved It. 5 stars
12/21/07 Wendell O. Maness I love blood, want to drink it, love this movie 5 stars
12/05/06 andrew worst movie ever. boring and sux 1 stars
11/24/06 Charlene Javier Loved it as well 4 stars
6/24/06 MP Bartley Superb acting, but jumbled narrative is all veneer and no surface. 4 stars
4/12/06 anthonyuk superb and again sean penn shows his class 5 stars
11/21/05 Taylor Fladgate 4 Stars - but be sure to be ready to be depressed. Whoa. 4 stars
9/19/05 Indrid Cold Great use of a fractured narrative to spice up an otherwise ho-hum story. 5 stars
8/18/05 ES Broken time lines inmovie generally mean the director wasn't sure how to film it 3 stars
6/12/05 Agent Sands Plot order is as if PA dropped the script & had 2 shuffle it back together in a hurry. 4 stars
5/06/05 Vince Top notch cast and performances, editing seems random and as a result story is tedious 3 stars
4/09/05 K. Sear Nothing new but it delivers where other attempts fail. 4 stars
12/07/04 Orion Fascinating. More deeper that you think at first glance 5 stars
11/08/04 Matthew Wow..what an awesome movie! Naomi Watts rocks! 5 stars
9/02/04 Impey not too shaby 2 stars
8/28/04 capitalbliss Fantastic, I found the filming a little different but the movie is great!! 5 stars
8/11/04 kc finished the movie feeling...eh... 3 stars
7/31/04 Brad Gripping, great performances. 5 stars
7/16/04 Jim & Deborah incredible movie/fabulous directing and acting / "outside the box" so to speak. 5 stars
5/25/04 michele excellent! Del Toro's acting is hypnotic 5 stars
5/22/04 Monster W. Kung Good acting, but plot is tedious and the absurdly bleak and fractured approach don't help. 3 stars
5/16/04 elizaveta a really great out-of-order film. Sean Penn rocks, as ever. 5 stars
5/12/04  Shaun Rose Excellent movie with agreat cast, I reccomend to anybody who hasn't seen it 4 stars
4/22/04 Alex A good movie about life 5 stars
4/19/04 Phil M. Aficiando Mind jumbling pysche beater; great acting helps a lot, but.... 3 stars
4/06/04 A F Tried to hard to mess with the sequence 3 stars
4/04/04 Charlene Javier Proves that Amores Perros is no fluke! 5 stars
4/03/04 Vince Chan Finally, a non-linear movie that actually makes you THINK! 5 stars
3/31/04 The More You Know Like a challenge? Watch it - but be prepared! Josh G's take on it is helpful. 4 stars
3/27/04 Frank Lynch 21 Grams is a pretentious bore. 2 stars
3/24/04 Shelley Shea Sean Penn can do no wrong. 5 stars
3/24/04 Margie LOVED IT, LOVED IT!!! Naomi should have won the best actress oscar!!(I question the end) 5 stars
3/21/04 othree loved it, sadly, raw reminder of human natures +cast 4 stars
3/16/04 Holly Beeman I almost feel like it would have been more powerful in sequence, but he's got the tech! 4 stars
3/10/04 Matt Good performances but the story was just too slight to merit the style. 3 stars
2/27/04 Reini Urban +story, + cast, -camera 4 stars
2/26/04 Troy Butler Extremely emotional, ... amazing performances all round!!! TOP NOTCH!! 5 stars
1/29/04 Rapunzel Gladstone Poorly told story that would far and away be none too compelling if told well. 2 stars
1/27/04 marzio arigoni@rtsi.ch a punch in your stomach! Great performances, especially Watts and Del Toro, and editing 4 stars
1/26/04 Chloe Brody Not Sean's finest performance, but really powerful. Naomi deserves the Oscar! 4 stars
1/24/04 Smitty The most beautifully acted lousy movie I've ever seen 2 stars
1/22/04 Betty White Heavy, dark drama with grand performances. 4 stars
1/21/04 HAL You must think to understand this film and our thoughts are not linear. Fine film. 5 stars
1/20/04 Chronology The movie was based intense emotions and ideas, but is ruined by mixed chronology! 4 stars
1/20/04 Cheerleader who ran out of TP& has to wipe her ass with her pompoms Falls apart at uh, ending, or rather would if it had an ending. 2 stars
1/18/04 Gretchen Seitz "---" sucks! Since when is "no taste" a burnable in hell offense. 2 stars
1/18/04 the Grinch Typical movie you'd expect Sean Penn to be in...good script, but In The Bedroom it AINT 2 stars
1/17/04 john wonderful, great acting, camera technique, fine editing, beautiful work 5 stars
1/16/04 john bale Brilliant yet difficult gritty drama about Fate, great actors, grungy sets and camerawork 4 stars
1/11/04 KCobain Awful and depressing. Walked out after 45 minutes. 1 stars
1/02/04 Admiral Piett Sean Penn sucks donkey dick. 1 stars
12/31/03 --- Anyone who doesnt like this movie has no taste and should burn in hell 5 stars
12/29/03 ownerofdajoint if you like deep overlapping plots then you'll think this is a great movie;which it is 5 stars
12/19/03 AXE k 1 stars
12/14/03 Slo. Zombie This review just SUCKS !!! 21 grams AND Mystic river are two masterpieces of modern cinema! 5 stars
12/02/03 re A GREAT FILM 5 stars
11/30/03 Todd Stein A great film, interesting study of humans 4 stars
11/29/03 ajay tried to be cool with Memento-editing but it was overdone, confusing and masked a bad story 2 stars
11/22/03 smartmusician GREAT!!! 5 stars
11/21/03 benice save your money, worst movie of the year. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  21-Nov-2003 (R)
  DVD: 03-Oct-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  22-Jan-2004




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast