After an inexcusable incident leaves Ben Thomas grieving regret and remorse, a new man wakes up, ready to change the life of seven unconnected strangers. Through a series of tests, the surviving IRS officer will work to discover each person’s underlying conscious, making the ultimate decision as to whether each is truly a ‘good person.’ The answer to that one question will play a critical part in each of the tested lives as it will determine whether their future is worth creating. That journey of research and discovery is the tale that encompasses Seven Pounds, the new inspirational film starring Will Smith and Rosario Dawson.
The film, which is directed by Gabriele Muccino of The Pursuit of Happiness fame, carries a blend of romance, drama and action as it attempts to encompass and interlock the aspects of all three genres. In doing so, the film becomes overloaded, bringing it to a sluggish conclusion that is easily foreseeable and therefore anticlimactic.
The heart of the story rests within the mind and soul of its viewers as Will Smith works to trigger your emotions and provide for an inspirational escape through a series of selfless, unexpected decisions. However, even with all the tear jerking moments, the film lacks one very important aspect, that of continuity. The film’s story, which is strong when looked at generally, lacks the detail or depth to deliver on all of its supercharged promises. Not to mention the inconclusive moments where we sit in confusion as we attempt to sort out the needless movements that generate nothing but confusion and serve as an unfortunate distraction.
The effect of these incoherent scenes pits the film against the viewer, creating a battle for understanding and causing a hesitant reaction from anyone who thinks that they understand both the premise and conclusion. And while separately both make perfect sense, it is the fact that the film’s many small stories are suppose to fit together and form a larger, more wholesome plot line, a feat that was well attempted though regretfully a middle-ground success.
Additionally, the chemistry shared between front runners Will Smith and Rosario Dawson, who was expected to have finally found her breakout role in Emily, a woman in need of a heart, was overrun in numerous aspects. Blame the lackluster plot line or uninspiring direction of Muccino, but both stars were unappealing as characters and as love interests. But with that said, I do want to credit Will Smith. Last year, right before the release of I Am Legend, Smith proclaimed that over the next ten years, he would be creating the best work of his career. Thus far, three films have been released, and while neither Hancock or Seven Pounds were good movies per se, both have featured an incredibly strong performance from their lead star.
In Seven Pounds, Smith ventures into the mind of a man plagued by guilt. Never able to recover from his unfortunate action, Smith’s Thomas spends his life trying to find an adequate way to give back, a trait that is as admirable as it is emotionally empowering. But unlike the many times before, Smith is unable to carry this film on his shoulders. For once, the action star needed a story and a supporting cast to share the load with, two things that he was never able to get. And though he shows extreme emotion through his sincere facial expressions and realistic approach , he is simply never able to secure the film.
Still the film is inspirational and mind boggling, that goes without question. However, in terms of being a great film, the jury is still out. The absence of a coherent story and a strong, full cast of talent prevents me from generating much buzz, although I will admit to it being emotionally powerful and containing a hard pressed life-lesson. Just don’t expect anything Earth shattering; for then you will be nothing but disappointed.