Seven Pounds *1/2
Directed by Gabriele Muccino
Written by Grant Nieporte
Will Smith as Ben Thomas
Rosario Dawson as Emily Posa
Woody Harrelson as Ezra Turner
Michael Ealy as Ben's Brothers
Barry Pepper as Dan
Rated PG-13 for thematic material, some disturbing content and a scene of sensuality.
"Seven Pounds" is the second film made by Will Smith and director Gabriele Muccino, after they struck gold (and an Oscar nomination) with "The Pursuit of Happyness." However, it does not seem like they have a genuine desire to work with one another, and because of that "Seven Pounds" is filled with the desire to win awards, and it does not matter how confusing or emotionally manipulative it can be to do it. If the film managed to involve me in any way, much like I was swept away by "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," I would have been able to see past the manipulation, but instead "Seven Pounds" is a muddled and detached mess, which is a shame considering the decent performance that Will Smith gives in the lead role.
One of the main intentions of the advertisements for the movie are keeping important plot points under wraps. The trailer and television ads don't reveal much about the plot, which is impressive considering how some trailers ruin even the smallest plot points. So for that, I will follow akin to the ads and I will not reveal much about what is happening, but the common viewer will still not know what is going on until the ninety minute mark. Smith plays the enigmatic Ben Thomas, who is on a quest to assist seven strangers with various problems they might have, but only if they deserve it. A very depressed and suicidal IRS agent, Ben begins his focus on Emily Posa, a young woman dying of a heart disease. He also finds something to give to Ezra Turner, a blind man who Ben yells at on the phone one day, and then attempts to engage him in conversation in a diner another.
There are these two people, and five others, and there is certainly a connection between them, and a reason why Ben wishes to help them. The first portion of the movie is a somewhat confusing mess, drifting back and forth through time, introducing the viewers to characters they know nothing about, and filled with some rather annoying "artistic" shots, where Gabriele Muccino becoms indulgent in his "vision." The love story that sparks between Ben and Emily is impossible to connect to, simply because we have no idea who these characters are and what is actually happening. This is all done to contain the final plot twist, which, if it was anything overly special, could have been understandable kept quiet, but it is easily predictable, and even downright implausible.
Will Smith gives a rather centered performance here, considering the fact that it is impossible to relate to him in any way. The whole thing is so detached from the viewer that its impossible to find any emotional entanglement at all. I did not watch these characters and become part of their problems. Instead I observed them, from the furtherest point possible. There is ambition behind this film-the ambition to win awards, and because of that mindset both Gabriele Muccino and Will Smith fail "Seven Pounds."