Saturday, January 3, 2009

Movie Review: Seven Pounds

The previews before Seven Pounds may confuse viewers even before the movie begins. In order, there was the preview for Ben Affleck's latest action flick, a biopic about Notorious B.I.G., a romantic comedy staring Katherine Heigl, and (best of all) a Disney nature documentary... Seriously. Aren’t previews supposed to give somewhat of an indication about what a movie is about? Or, at the very least, what genre the movie falls into?

The TV trailers advertising the movie seem just as confused about what the plotline is in Seven Pounds: a mystery? A drama? A romance?

The movie, directed by Gabriele Muccino, focuses on Ben Thomas (Will Smith), who works as an IRS agent that seeks out people who are "worthy" of a gift from him.

Thomas himself is a troubled man - often angry, upset, and depressed - and is only drawn from his melancholy through his budding romance with Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson) who is suffering from a heart problem. But the reasons for Thomas’s depression and why he refuses to talk about his past remain, like much else about this movie, clouded until the last fifteen minutes.

Considering all the confusion within the movie, viewers should expect to pay extra-close attention to the plot, in hopes of figuring exactly what Thomas is up to. The revealing ending is only somewhat satisfactory, especially since the beginning has, you quickly learn, given away a large chunk of the ending: Thomas dials 9-1-1 to report his own suicide. Why, viewers might ask, do the writers give away this enormous chunk of the ending, but leave so much else in the dark?

With the suicidal beginning (and ending), Seven Pounds promises to be a sad, depressing movie, and that it is. But heart-wrenching? It tries to be and nearly does so, but the mystery and confusion of the majority of the movie is unfortunately overwhelming and distracting.

Genre-less movies can be appealing, but this one falls short of the mark since it’s trying to be too many things at once. Save your $10.50, and wait for the movie to be released on DVD.

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