Tuesday, July 25, 2006

21 Grams- movie review

Introducing a new blog feature to let you know what I think of recently viewed movies. We don't have cable television, but subscribe to Netlfix, so we watch lots of movies.

Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending.

Sean Penn plays Paul Rivers, who is awaiting a heart transplant; his wife Mary is trying to get pregnant. Jack Jordan, played by Benicio del Toro is a born-again ex-con who volunteers at some kind of boy's club and attends a church where they sing songs that I remember from childhood. Jack hits Christina Peck's (played by Naomi Watts) husband and two young daughters, who are all fatally injured. Jack drives home without stopping. Paul gets Mr. Peck's heart, hires a PI to find out where it came from and makes friends with Christina, who has returned to using cocaine and other drugs in her grief. Paul and Christina connive to kill Jack, but Paul can't bring himself to do it and winds up shooting himself in the struggle that ensues and eventualy dying in ICU. Christina discovers that she is pregnant when she tries to give blood to help Paul.

First of all, I love the way the movie was filmed. I'll need to see it again to really understand it. About half the scenes are completely non-sequential. This style of telling what I found to be basically a good story only enhances the movie's value in my opinion.

What I really like about a movie, though, is the light it sheds on interpersonal relationships and personal motivation and actions. This movie really delivers when it comes to that.

1. Bible-thumper Jack. Loves to say, "Jesus knows if a hair on your head moves." Drives a truck all tricked out with Jesus stickers which he won in some kind of contest. Jack has a major struggle with how God gives him a great truck and then lets him kill three people with it. He leaves his family after he gets out of jail for the hit-and-run, but finally returns to them.

Question: A. Did God (assuming his existence) allow the accident, cause the accident, or watch the accident? B. Given the above choices, what was God's role in Jack running away?

2. Recovering addict and mother Christina. Can't believe her father's assurance that life goes on after a death, yet eventually winds up pregnant. Not only has life continued, but a new life is begun. I couldn't find convincing proof of whether the baby belonged to the dead husband or Paul (whose own wife can't conceive).

Question: A. Does this demonstrate the whimsy of fate, favoring a paramour with a child instead of the wife? or B. Does this demonstrate an intrinsic fairness in the universe, replacing a dead child with a new one?

3. Heart transplant recipient and cheater Paul. Receives a heart transplant which ultimately fails, but shoots himself anyway. Of interest, his surgeon suggests that he stay in the hospital until they find him another transplant.

Question: A. Is he doomed to die one way or another? B. Does he shoot himself because he knows he's dying, or would he do it anyway? C. Does a heart transplant change a person's heart?

Having thought of these questions, of course I don't know the answers. I'll close with one more question though: Why does everyone in this movie smoke so much? Don't they know it will kill them for sure?


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