Compiled by: Jack Foley
IT PLAYED to rave reviews at this year's London Film Festival,
so it is little wonder that US film critics are going wild over
21 Grams, the new film from Amores
Perros director, Alejandro González Iñárritu.
The movie stars Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro and
focuses on the lives of three apparent strangers, who lives are
brought together by one tragic incident.
Penn stars as a terminally ill mathematics professor, in need
of a heart transplant, while Watts portrays a single mother battling
her grief and addictions, and Del Toro is an ex-con in search
The ensuing movie has been described by Entertainment Weekly
as 'a startlingly crafted movie, with several extraordinary performances'.
It awarded the film a B+.
The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, observed that 'Watts,
Penn and Del Toro have all been brilliant before, and if we're
lucky, they will all be brilliant again. But to watch these three
- working alone and in tandem - is to experience the strange,
at times frightening alchemy of screen acting'.
While the Hollywood Reporter stated that 'this movie knocks
you out with an astonishing blend of hyper-realism, visual complexity
and powerful themes'.
Better still was Reel Views, which awarded it four out
of four, and stated that it is 'one of the year's most compelling
And the New York Post, which opined that 'the title refers
to the weight - perhaps the soul - the body is said to lose at
the precise moment of death. But 21 Grams has no shortage of soul,
wit or intelligence'.
Still glowing were the likes of the New York Daily News,
which wrote that 'using the structure of Amores Perros, Inarritu
takes his complex tale of hope and redemption and breaks it into
a mosaic of emotional tiles that add up to more than the whole'.
And the New York Times, which predicted that it 'may well
be the crowning work of this year'.
It added that 'you won't come out unaffected, because the depths
of intimacy that the Mexican director Alejandro González
Iñárritu plumbs here are so rarely touched by filmmakers
that 21 Grams is tantamount to the discovery of a new country'.
USA Today praised it, too, stating that it 'unstintingly
explores and exposes excruciating pain, raw grief, ruinous vengeance
and life-affirming resilience, creating human portraits that are
uncommonly exhilarating in their honesty'.
While the New York Observer wrote that it is 'a sad movie
about the irony of inescapable destiny, it left me captivated
Film Journal International, meanwhile, stated that 'Inarritu
and his fellow artists have contrived something wondrous, a formally
innovative fugue filled with demons and despair that somehow comes
down on the side of life'.
And Rolling Stone gleefully predicted that 'you won't
see more explosive acting this year'.
The Onion's AV Club said that it is 'a nearly unparalleled
actor's showcase, the film boasts performances of impressive quality
While Variety concludes this overview by stating that
it 'cements [Iñárritu's] reputation as a boldly
The film opens in the UK next year and is already one of the
contenders for film of 2004, along with the equally sublime Lost