Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Seven Pounds ...could be good if it weren't that stupid

'Seven Pounds' follows the last days of Tim Thomas (Will Smith), an obviously well paid space engineer, who caused a road accident killing seven, including his wife, by using his cell phone while driving. Ruined by guilty conscience he takes the wise and democratic decision to pay for his sin a pound of flesh (figuratively speaking) for each of the seven lives he took. He assumes the identity of his brother Ben and posing as an IRS agent finds and meets seven people, deemed worthy of his help which takes the form of donating his organs - lung, liver, kidneys, marrow, eyes (?!?!) and heart - and last, but not least, a house (just for the nitpicking, how many pounds does that count for?).

The opening scene spoils it somewhat, as it shows Tim Thomas requesting an ambulance on 911 for his own suicide, so you already know the end of the story, but you still have to spend the next half an hour trying to figure how and why he reached that decision. Don't misunderstand me, these aren't thirty minutes filled with storytelling and explaining our hero's motivation, this is just how much it must have taken Gabriele Muccino to account for part of the budget with several overextended and fragmented scenes that grace us with the evaluation of some of the intended recipients of the graceful donation. The criteria will hardly surprise anyone, if you've been good, you get to live, if you've been naughty - die, motherfucker, die.

The unsuspecting audience is then introduced to the method our hero intends to use for putting his miserable existence to end, namely by the means of jellyfish poison (sic!). Actually that strikes me as quite ingenious, provided it's not imperative to keep his organs fit for transplantation. By the way, the jellyfish apparently turns out to be of some unknown freshwater inhabiting species, unless this specific motel provides sea water on the tap. And no, no matter how logical it might seem after that, there are no low-flying snails and killer bees later in the story. The Animal Planet contribution is restricted to a Great Dane, who turns out to be vegetarian (hardly on his own accord) but still barks like a real dog.

Anyway, all that's left to see after that is the decent, so-so convincing and extremely heart-touching love story between Tim 'Stupid Suicide' Thomas and the desperately needing a heart transplant Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson, who gets the applause for her performance). And even though the lifelike love between them tried to pry a tear of compassion even out of me (not a surprise really, being the watery sucker for drama that I am), it doesn't really offer anything new, just the old story of the beautiful doomed love, in which one person must sacrifice him/herself for the other... sob.

It is my deep belief that great romance stories can be told without decorating unnecessary and pointless acts as suicide attempts with glory and heroics. I am also sure that a highly educated person, however depressed he is, can realize that he is a greater asset to society and can contribute more than being dismantled to provide spares and that if he lives, works and is devoted to the cause with all his heart, he can save how many people, 70? 700? 7000...? An engineer is supposed to know what efficiency means. Likewise, the fat-ass overpaid movie moguls are supposed to sit and think what kind of message they are conveying and what kind of images they are promoting.
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