Friday, January 09, 2009

Seven Pounds

I don’t quite remember if the motives match but the title hit me at once as inspired from The Merchant of Venice wherein the Jew, Shylock, demanded for payment a pound of flesh instead of money. So Seven Pounds to those classically inclined would mean at once to seven people.

Who and why would be the journey that is our film. Is the lead like Shakespeare Jew businessman? What does that ‘pound of flesh’ mean to the lead or to the seven?

Will Smith stars in the lead as Ben Thomas, a taxman with a mission atypical of a profession often seen as bloodsuckers for worthless governments. He goes around watching the lives of strangers saying in some cases declaring a gift will be forthcoming. The twist is he never really goes about declaring the what, only that he’s adamant that it comes to those who deserve it. He was quite meticulous in fact.

The people that he is watching are a sorry lot with the likes of Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson) and Ezra Turner (Woody Harrelson), George Ristuccia (Bill Smitrovich) among others. At first glance some of them may look like they deserve a gift on the spot but Ben did not abandon his selection process.

Seven Pounds would be the first time I have seen Will Smith in a dramatic role. I am amazed to say that he was very convincing. Being a pretty boy and one of Hollywood’s top draws I have to say I was expecting less of him. He really looks the part of a broken man who is at the same time determined to serve his mission. He held the film together very effectively.

I have not seen the Will Smith lead film In Pursuit of Happyness but I have heard rave reviews about it highlighted which includes an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for Will. Suffice to say ‘In Pursuit’ will be in my ‘to watch’ list because of appreciating this present work: Seven Pounds. Both films were directed by Gabriele Muccino so maybe that is a factor in producing some great dramatic work at the very least with Will involved.

Story wise it’s like a detective movie only without a crime. Ben as I have said is on a selection process for that gift he declares quite often all throughout movie. You may think you’ve figured it out because the movie has a flashback but there is enough kick in the end.

The flashback may even be a stroke of genius because you get one perfect circle; every scene made it into one. Ben Thomas’ character who is by the way also the story is fully developed. Truly only in the end can you say is the character of Ben a good person, a bad person, a weak person, or an insane one.

Over all I like Seven Pounds. It didn’t brighten my day but that is the point; it’s a drama. Just don’t you watch it on a bad day or if you are into movies for leisure.