21 Grams is not the easiest movie to review, where do you start when there is so much on offer. Some subtle, some obvious but all worthy of mention.
The performances are incredible, with most movies we get to see one character go through an emotional arc but with this we get to follow the lives of three main characters, all of which exhibit a whole host of emotions which question the fundamental facts of life. Sean Penn shows here that he has finally reached the right age for his enormous talent and can now play the kind of roles where we get to see more than a mindless thug. Del Toro is his equal in the acting stakes and displays emotions so naturalistic you will forget that you are watching actors perform. Naomi Watts could be forgiven if her performance got swallowed up by the sheer class of Penn and Del Toro but no, she too delivers a career best effort.
Ultimately it's Del Toro's movie, his character illicit's emotions from the viewer which include sympathy and contempt in equal measure.
People have described this movie as a jigsaw puzzle, Director Inarritu and writer Arriaga present this movie with a splintered time frame, constantly jumping from past to present to future in an attempt to unsettle you and shake you to your core and its difficult to fathom for the first 20 minutes until you make the adjustment.
This film is such a triumph artistically. Filmed for the majority with handheld cameras yet every frame appears precisely measured, every edit is expertly placed. The soundtrack is subtle yet striking. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has delivered a patchwork presentation which when woven together reaches levels of complete genius.
Sure this is not easy viewing but it's not meant to be. You have to give so much to enjoy it to its fullest but if you're willing, then you will embark on a movie experience of virtuoso cinema. This is amazing filmmaking of the very highest merit.
Unconventional, emotionally draining, monstrous deep but ultimately uplifting.
Icon have given this movie an MPEG-4 AVC encoded, 1.85:1 framed, 1080p transfer onto a 50GB Blu-ray disc of exceptional quality.
Like the film, this transfer will not be to everyone's taste. Firstly we have a large number of various source elements ranging from handhelds to conventional which result in a number of different looks to almost each and every scene. The grain which is heavy throughout is completely intentional and adds to the films gritty nature.
Contrast is constantly tweaked, intentionally overblown in some scenes and withdrawn in others. Colour saturation is also tweaked to differing levels but is largely muted which gives a clinical and cold ambience to the production.
Detail is exceptional for the most part. Skin tones and textures are brilliantly rendered and appear very natural and lifelike.
When compared to the DVD this Blu-ray is a triumph, each artistic decision with this films presentation is delivered impeccably on this disc.
This comes very highly recommended
Film 5/5 Transfer 4.5/5