Seven Pounds Review

If the idea of Will Smith spending two hours acting ambiguously and whimpering a lot sounds like an appealing prospect, then his latest film: Seven Pounds is going to be right up your alley! Big Willie plays Ben Thomas, a slightly bi-polar IRS agent haunted by a tragic event, who is spending his days making altruistic gestures in the lives of a series of people. His pet project is Emily Posa, a woman with a congenital heart defect and rare blood type, which pretty much guarantees she’s buggered, but Ben sweeps into her life and uses his IRS discretion to freeze her medical debt and sets himself up as her emotional benefactor, rekindling the romantic desires her illness has put a block on, but breaking through the bottled up anguish in Ben’s heart is a difficult prospect. Words cannot describe how interminably pretentious Seven Pounds is. Think Alejandro González Iñárritu meets Paul Haggis and multiply the self importance by ten thousand and you might get the idea of the tone of this film.

I actually didn’t mind Big Willie’s previous collaboration with Gabriele Muccino: The Pursuit of Happyness, because despite all the soapy melodrama it told a life-affirming story about a charming man, played by one of the most charismatic stars in Hollywood. Ben Thomas is almost completely charmless, in a desperate attempt to evoke suspense from a wafer-thin plotline, we have to sit through a seemingly endless sequence of cryptically vague scenes where Ben’s internal anguish and hesitation spews out in the form of antagonism and aggressiveness towards his best friend and the subjects he’s trying to help. The conflict is far from understated and it’s painfully obvious what Ben is attempting to do and how he plans to do it, so why does it take almost two hours before the details are revealed? Will Smith’s performance is equally overstated, he spends most of the film with his eyes squinted and chin quivering because of all the CONFLICT his character is feeling, he loathes himself and part of him wants others to loathe him, but he also wants to be saved. The dilemma! After two hours of this drivel, I was feeling like I needed to be rescued as well.

The Disc: Almost as luscious as Sony’s work on Casino Royale, Seven Pound’s transfer falls just shy of that standard because of slightly inconsistent black levels – the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio is equally impressive. Almost all the extras can be watched in less than an hour, so most are quite superficial; the Creating the Perfect Ensemble feature is about the most substantial. Gabriele Muccino’s commentary is very technical and dry, which means it can serve the dual purpose of also curing insomnia.


Updated: May 20, 2009

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