21 Grams

Rated 5.0 Were it not for a little movie called Return of the King, this would go down as the best film of 2003. Sean Penn plays the recipient of a transplanted heart, overcome with the urge to find the one who saved his life. Naomi Watts is the wife of the deceased man, and Penn becomes her protector and love interest. The story unfolds in non-linear fashion (a technique similar to Christopher Nolan’s Memento), and it’s amazing how cohesive and powerful it actually is. Benicio Del Toro, as a well meaning man with tragic flaws and very bad luck, just keeps topping himself as an actor. The work Penn does here should put him in the running for that long denied Oscar, but his work in the better known Mystic River will probably cancel him out. Don’t quote me on that because this film is starting to get some major buzz, and it should.