Review Detail

9.9 9 10
FanMix January 14, 2012 3170
Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
"The structure simply doesn't let any of the characters build an arc of growth or despair; aside from being confusing, the narrative locks us out." - from Roger Ebert's review of 21 grams.

21 grams revisited justifies its existence on that quote alone.

It's been several years since I watched the original movie - it sits on the shelf in the "maybe another night" department. This is heavy material, and as Gatos knows, I have taken my sweet time to get around to finally watching and reviewing this edit for the same reason. You have to get your head into the right space to enter this movie, knowing what awaits you.

Having said that, I'm extremely glad that I finally did watch this edit. Without the 'lock out' that Ebert described, we are arguably more present with the characters, and more lost in their stories. Without the editing artiface that causes us to consistenty be reminded we are watching a story from a distance, we are now able to follow the natural flow of events. We can 'go on the journey' with the characters, and share their discoveries and revelations as they occur.

At this point, I should point out that I think the non-linear style in the original works equally well, but for different reasons. The fragmented model is arguably more poetic, and has to find a rhythm in a less traditional sense. It's a collage of hugely emotional and intense moments that we piece together - like a dream, as discussed in the lunch date scene between Watts and Penn. But from the point of view of relating more directly and personally to these characters and their stories, Gatos' version draws you right in, in a way that the original perhaps doesn't allow.

As for the balance of scenes, they work beautifully. Nothing feels out of place or missing. The pacing is spot on, and the impact very intense. This movie is a sledgehammer, but you feel grateful when it hits you in the face. The acting is so amazing, the music incredible, the cinematography the perfect balance of gritty, light and dark.

Technically, the editing is pretty much invisible save for two notable audio changes between scenes (but to be honest, I imagine there were many more potential moments like this that Gatos was cleverly able to avoid!). There was also a slight lip sync issue in the scene at the hospital when Watts receives the bad news. But this only lasted for a minute or so, and was nothing major.

Well done Gatos, you've offered a powerful alternative experience of an already powerful film that can proudly sit beside the original on the shelf. 10/10
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