Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Seven Pounds" (2008) - Movie Review

At the end “Seven Pounds” you might very well be crying because director Gabriele Muccino desperately tries it and you sympathize him. The film’s protagonist Bill Thomas (Will Smith) rides with guilt, so much of it. He stares at the mirror several times and do not start with staring at the empty places. He has done some thing really really bad because his meticulous acts of kindness begs so in the current cruel world. It is a polished sappy tear jerker providing a solution which makes us hardly to empathize with Bill.

As with the screenplay works in recent days the story starts revealing an eventual possibility and traces back the roots of it which has brought where it is. Out here Bill calls the emergency service declaring that he is the victim of a suicide. Keeping the good works of Smith with the director previously in “The Pursuit of the Happyness” , I began to grasp as the loved ones of the suicide persons being the real victim. How presumptuous of me to think so. Anyways, in the cryptic scenes of who Bill is and what he is doing, we meet his beneficiaries here and there. But the beautiful Rosario Dawson as Emily Posa become the love chemistry of this sad soul.

What it poses as a soul searching turns out to be a guilt journey to unimaginable level. The picturesque applied in Muccino’s previous film is followed here too which gives the film the suave feel but it only emerges more deceptive than necessary. In the flashes of memory we learn that Bill used to be a well off person or it is self evident from the beach house he owns. He harasses a blind telemarketer Ezra (Woody Harrelson) over the phone to test his “goodness” and deserving of his kindness, enters as a stranger guardian to mother of two afraid of her boyfriend, Connie Tepos (Elpidia Carillo) and a little bit more than a help to Emily Posa. All of them are in the depth of sorrow and trouble but too proud to ask for help as Bill puts it to Holly (Judyann Elder) to find one of his candidates.

By not revealing the tragedy of Bill’s previous life, the sympathy relied on us to feel becomes ambiguous. While the chemistry between Smith and Dawson works in favour of their characters, the immediacy in which Dawson’s Emily falls for Smith’s Thomas is unconvincing. She is dying and he comes to her life posing as this IRS office worker to provide a friendly and creepy stalker in her sleeps and wakes. But women are complex and the mystery generally draws them in or at least the films projects it so. The conversation they have are made up in every possible sense meaning to stick in the screenplay sheet than on the screen.

When the time is running out and the time is known, the conditions stopping us in breaking free vanishes. The tomorrow disappears and the bounding factors go out the door. We seek for comfort and do things what we feel without a thought. And in Emily it might be so but Ben already flooded with complexity and pain hardly seem the candidate for it. He does good things, no actually he does great things. His friend Dan (Barry Pepper) knows what he is up to and he is being shut off too. Revealing not much, I feel that the fatal mistake of Ben could have been redeemed in much many more ways than toying with the lives of others. At the end I thought the good deeds of Bill in the attempt of making us feel as selfless becomes more emotionally quenching his thirst in his final act.

The film in its richness of colour and polishing structure had hopes at the start. Then it branches as a sappy love story. Slowly it creeps on the pain and the controlling aspect of Ben in the relentless good nature of him. It pinches and asks us to see the stretches of effort and ordeal he goes through for getting his candidates above and beyond any human would do and go for. If we are not moved by that it slaps to further witness sappiness in developing this love story between Emily and Ben. If still a muscle did not beat up a little, Muccino grabs us with our clothes shaking hard and stares straight with a self righteous attitude questioning our senses of feeling anything at all for not empathizing with his protagonist. I felt a slow motion of never ending artificial manipulative drama.

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