The first thing you can’t help but notice with 21 Grams is that it is the slowest-starting film ever. Okay, perhaps I exaggerate. But it does start slow. I’m sure that wasn’t the filmmaker’s intent; that’s just the way it is.

The problem, as I see it, is that they made the decision to edit this film in that oh-so-hip-yet-oh-so-irritating-in-reality, chopped up, not-in-chronological-order style. But the scenes are cut in such a manner that you never get to know enough about the characters to become involved. Hence, the prospect of hip evaporates and only irritating remains. Hence, slow.

Then you move on to the next question - how much turgid drama can any one person take in a sitting and still call it entertainment? That answer will be different for each person. But this film went slightly over my limit. 21 Grams is serious without respite. If you did any one sce

About forty minutes into it, I’m starting to scroll through all the rotten things I have in my life already that should make it so I shouldn’t have to add this bleak story into my life experience.

Is the acting good? Yeah, I guess. I’m too depressed to notice. Is the story good? I’d answer that - if I had any idea of what the whole story was. But because it’s put together like a Picasso painting, I realize I won’t even fully know how sad it is until it’s over. Wow. What a thrilling prospect that is.

Scene after scene after scene, someone is drinking, someone is crying, someone is contemplating the hopelessness of life. I’m gonna have to watch Viva Las Vegas after this...

The strange thing about all this drama is that it is so uninvolving. None of the characters have any rapport with one another,

The acting is noninvolving as well. When’s the last time I’ve seen a Sean Penn performance that wasn’t riveting? Counting this one? One. And he’s doing everything he can do. The canvas he’s painting on is just too bleak.

At ninety minutes, I’m wondering what would happen if I gave in and fast forward / scanned the rest of this. If the characters moved any faster, would they seem any happier? But I will continue to slough through the mud till these unhappy characters all die their slow deaths of the soul...

I suppose it’s possible that you might be someone who lives a glorious fun-filled life with nothing but happiness and fulfillment all the time. If so, perhaps this ongoing funeral dirge might seem like an escape for you. For me, watching it was my very own slice of purgatory.

Copyright © 2006 CTarr