21 GRAMS is like an elaborate piece of jewelry in a Rodeo Drive boutique in Beverly Hills.   With the jewelry, if you have to ask the price, you shouldn't have walked in the door.  In the case of 21 GRAMS, if you have to ask why all the critical acclaim, you shouldn't have walked in the door.  This overly-pretentious imitation of a '60's "art film" exceeds itself in it's parody on the genre.  It even went so far as to reinvent minimalist titles and intentionally subject the hapless viewer to poor quality film reproduction.  It was shot in NarrowVision as a continuous reminder of its artsy-phartsy status, and the utmost care was taken to give it the 'look and feel' of having been shot for under $10,000.
21 GRAMS has set a cinematic world record for the number of flashbacks and flash-forwards in a single film.  The film is unique in that the flashbacks are not in any rational timeline sequence.  No reasonable person could conclude other than the film was intentionally made to be difficult to follow.  There was a very good reason Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu both directed and produced 21 GRAMS -  no seasoned producer would let a director get away with such folly.  Likewise, no experienced director would allow himself to be put in such a career-threatening position by any producer.  The single remaining logical possibility for the random-shuffle story boarding is that Inarritu depended heavily on peyote to get the job done.   And in retrospect, it looks like he was also equally dependent on the Emperors New Clothing factor.
21 GRAMS is a showcasing of poorest America and the lowlife no-hopers and criminals that such poverty is meant to breed.  As was done so often in the '60's, tawdriness, ugliness and death are equated in the "artist's" eye as 'the real thing', and therefore worthy of wallowing in.  Had there been even the slightest thread of continuity or social relevance, the film might not have been so downright stone-boring.  Were it not for the brilliant individual efforts of Benicio Del Toro, this film would have ended up, in its entirety, on the cutting room floor.  Will Benicio get the Oscar for this one?  Against all odds, I think so.
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