by Laura Tucker
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I was worried that maybe after Pursuit of Happiness Will Smith was becoming too pretentious like maybe he couldn’t make a movie anymore unless it had extreme humanitarian implications, so seeing the previews of Seven Pounds, I wondered if he was really searching with this one. In the previews, Smith’s character tells us that in seven days God created the world, and in seven seconds, he shattered his.
Seven Pounds employs flashbacks in the beginning, leaving a little confusion as to what is going on, as Smith’s character is at one point driving a hot sports car, then in the next scene driving a K car, living in a spacious beach house, then renting out a room in a seedy motel. Yet the majority of the film is spent following Ben Thomas (Smith), an IRS agent, as he checks in on some of the people that owe the government some sizable amounts of cash. He definitely has strange methods as he completely involves himself in these people’s lives, sometimes being quite rude about the prospect.
Needing to check in on Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson), Ben isn’t content to find her not at home. He goes to the hospital where he knows she’s having a procedure, on the cardiac floor no less. He checks in on an administrator to a hospital, and after being asked for another six month extension, he visits a patient in the hospital to ask how she’s being treated by the administrator. He calls a meat salesman that’s blind (Woody Harrelson), and finding he’s blind and a vegan, refers to him as a “blind vegan beef salesman coward.”
Much of what Ben does is confusing, yet he’s definitely a man on a mission, with it being our goal to figure out what that mission is. Just to make matters even more confusing, he’s also carrying out a secret plan with his best friend, a man he’s known since he was young, and a doctor (Barry Pepper). Ben’s brother is less than happy with him and fruitlessly trying to catch up with him.
Not to give too much away, this review will be kept short, as much of the enjoyment of the film is in figuring out Ben’s plan to find out exactly what he’s up to. Yet, even just a half hour into Seven Pounds I knew this wasn’t Smith being pretentious, thinking he could only do humanitarian films.
This is just a good story, no matter who the star is, and the star power of Smith just makes it that much better. The story requires the star to completely carry the film, and in this case, it’s a job well done.
Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints and Reality Shack, and operates a TV blog, What’s Hot On TV. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com
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