21 Grams 「21グラム」

2005年 4月 04日
作者: Andrew "Nick" Nichols

出演者:ショーン・ペン 、ナオミ・ワッツ 、ベネチオ・デル・トロ 、シャルロット・ゲンズブール

I finally got the chance to see this movie after it was recently released on DVD. I’d been looking forward to seeing it, not least of all for the enigmatic title, supposedly referring to the weight all human bodies lose at the exact moment of death, perhaps the soul leaving the body, as suggested by one commentator I heard. Far more than just the title, almost every aspect of the film, from the acting, to the cinematography, to the absorbing narrative style make this film one of the standout movies for me of recent years.

It’s difficult to describe any of the plot without giving away some, or even most of the tragic surprises that abound in it. When we first encounter Paul (Sean Penn), he is a detached literature professor, barely able to maintain the pretense of a happy marriage, suffering from a terminal heart disease. Cristina (Naomi Watts), a former drug using, girl-about-town, has just professed to her therapy group what profound contentment she has realized with her two daughters from her marriage to a devoted husband. Jack (Benicio Del Toro ) is a zealous born again Christian, recently released from yet another stint in jail, with his faith and love of Jesus etched in ink across his body. Slowly coming to re-learn his life with his wife and two children, Jack’s actions are about to tragically bond all three characters inextricably together, with bloody, passionate and fatal results.

This second feature film for Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu slapped me in ways that few films do, and reminded me a lot of Magnolia, another film by a passionate young director eager to share his beliefs on love and relationships, life and death. Both give voice to their themes with faceless narrators; P. T. Anderson’s in Magnolia asking us to suspend our disbelief with a story every bit as strange as fact, González Iñárritu’s narrator asking us to ponder what is lost when we die, nothing more than a stack of nickels, or the equivalent weight of a hummingbird.

Whereas Anderson in Magnolia centers his characters in settings of coincidence and near miraculous awakenings to their fractured lives, González Iñárritu gives us a far more gritty reality where characters by their actions, or lack of them, are the instigators of their own tragedies affecting profoundly the lives of those around them. There is no solution from without, just an overbearing, heart crushing realization few may to come to know, and only the strongest can surmount, or at the very least survive.