Seven Pounds

  • 2009-03-04

TORTURED: Much of the film features Will Smith looking depressed as he copes with a life changing accident.

Director: Gabriele Muccino

In the gripping opening sequence of "Seven Pounds," Ben Thomas (Will Smith) dials 911 to report his own suicide.
The shattering reasons for his dramatic action will only become clear much later.
Desperate to atone for a tragic accident that leaves his fiancee and six others dead, Ben devises an elaborate plan to bestow a life saving gift to seven worthy strangers.

Posing as an IRS agent, Ben tracks down several potential beneficiaries including Ezra (Woody Harrelson) the blind meat salesman, Emily (Rosario Dawson) the beautiful stationary designer who is suffering from congenital heart failure and Connie Tepos (Elpidia Carrillo), an abused woman living in fear.
The role marks a departure for Smith and reunites the "I, Robot" star with Gabriele Muccino, who directed him in "The Pursuit of Happyness."

Smith is always a charismatic screen presence, but his main brief in this film seems to be to maintain a suitably anguished demeanor. His character's true purpose remains shrouded in mystery throughout much of the film.
But the fact the man is tortured beyond belief by guilt is left in no doubt, with Muccino devoting ample screen time to Smith's pained facial expressions.

In the end Smith is overshadowed by a worthy supporting cast, including Harrelson, who brings a quiet dignity to the put-upon Ezra.
Dawson, as Smith's terminally ill love interest, is equally affecting. She imbues Rosa with the perfect measure of fragility and strength.
The film unfolds through a series of mysterious and seemingly unrelated flashbacks. While obviously designed to keep the audience guessing, the jarring narrative style quickly becomes confusing and is one of the downsides to the film.

That said, "Seven Pounds" is an interesting and at times moving exploration of guilt, loss, suffering and redemption. Unfortunately Muccino does not manage to draw these themes together in any coherent form.
Ben's journey from sinner to savior, reformed by heroic good deeds, is simplistic in the extreme.
Smith might be box office gold, but does that really warrant painting the action star as some kind of God-like figure sent to perform the ultimate sacrifice for greater mankind?

Now playing in Estonia and Lithuania. Coming to Latvia March 13


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