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This review is from: 21 Grams [DVD]  (DVD)
Based on a strikingly similar premise to Iñárritu's first film "Amores Perros", 21 Grams follows three characters whose lives are bound together by a fatal car crash in which a man and his two young daughters are killed. The three characters the film focuses on are the wife and mother of those killed (Naomi Watts), the ex-convict and born-again Christian who caused the accident (Benicio del Toro) and the man whose life was saved when he received a transplant of the heart of the man who was killed (Sean Penn). The first of this film's main virtues are precisely these actors, all of whom are amongst the most gifted and brilliant actors currently working in Hollywood - 21 Grams is a masterclass in acting. The second of its main virtues is that it is also a masterclass in direction. The story is not told chronologically, but follows what Iñárritu describes as the "emotional logic" of the story. We cut between the three main characters and jump back and forth in time, gradually piecing together both what has happened and how the three, initially totally separate-seeming, strands of the plot are connected. This technique, though bold, is not all that unusual in itself, but what is unusual is the way that Iñárritu makes it work so brilliantly - he keeps you guessing and involved, but never confuses you. This is a genuinely outstanding film.