Seven Pounds, written and directed by Gabriele Muccino, features former aerospace engineer Tim Thomas (Will Smith), who finds himself in battle of redemption after killing seven people in a car accident – including his fiance. After assuming the identity of his brother, Ben Thomas, an IRS agent – he gains access to archives of private information, and sets out to give “seven pounds” of flesh to seven deserving people, to compensate for the seven lives he destroyed.
While I’m certainly in favor of a story that challenges it’s audience – Seven Pounds simply exhausts the mental capacity of it’s viewers. Three quarters of this film is a convoluted montage of occurrences between Will Smith and one of his seven “chosen” victims. One minute he’s in a nursing home, demanding a bath for a mute, senile, ninety year old woman – and the next, he’s fluent in Spanish, trying to convince a mother of two to leave her boyfriend who shattered her ribcage? Ultimately, the story only truly features two of the seven victims: Ezra, the blind, beef-selling virgin, and Emily, a stationary specialist with a Great Dane and heart failure.
So, hey – call the film Two Pounds, and cut the 40 minutes of tape that features excess plot that serves no relevance to the escalation of the storyline, and isn’t remotely conducive to the final payoff.
While Smith’s relationship with Emily is clearly the most engaging, it’s preceded by an hour of open-ended conflict – the audience wants answers, or at least direction – not a whole new sub-plot line.
Redeeming elements of Seven Pounds are few and far between, but all complaints aside – Will Smith never fails to please, and is strongly supported by co-star Rosario Dawson. Delivering another stellar performance following his Oscar nominated role in Pursuit of Happyness (also directed by Muccino) and critically acclaimed work in both I Am Legend and Hancock – Smith has certainly earned his title as the highest paid actor in Hollywood. Smith’s character is fragile – but not necessarily tortured. He’s accepted his self-assigned fate, but is driven by remorse, which inspires a melancholy essence to his character. Unfortunately, his committed performance, spiked with that classic Will Smith charm (regardless of how dramatic his role is) – cannot save the slow, mess of a movie that is Seven Pounds.
With the handful of dynamite films pending release this holiday season, save your ten bucks – and rent it in three months.
SEVEN POUNDS is currently in theatres nationwide.