Saturday, April 18, 2009

SEVEN POUNDS (now playing at home where your cat is joyfully digging his claws into your chest as you watch this movie)

One of the songs featured on the soundtrack of Seven Pounds is the old standard, "Feeling Good," from Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. But contrary to what any of the pre-release hype for this film MAY have suggested, or what may be implied on the front and back covers
of the DVD case, this is NOT a feel-good movie! It's a bleak and disturbing film that raises serious questions about how far one human being should go to redeem himself for creating a devastating but unintentional screw-up. It also wants us to shed happy tears at the end and concur in lemming-like fashion that the end justifies the means.

Up front we witness Ben Thomas (Will Smith) calling 911 to report a suicide. It's his OWN, just before the fact. The rest of the film is a flashback, because if you start with the ending and proceed from there, it's a very short movie (my logic always astounds me). As we go along, we're given short glimpses of WHY he thinks his life is no longer worth living. Yes, he made a tragic mistake, but the script wants us to accept that ending one's life in response is a moral and noble thing to do because Ben has figured out a way to impact the lives of seven strangers, most of whom will benefit directly from his death. I guess he never considered how many people's lives he MIGHT have changed if he had just stuck around and lived a long life in devotion and service to his fellow man. But he's a little too warped for that.

When Ben begins a serendipitous romance with heart patient Emily Posa, (Rosario Dawson) you start to think maybe he'll change his mind--but we can't forget the scene at the beginning where's he's calling in his own self-inflicted demise--so the tension of this film lies in whether he might have a change of "heart" at the last minute.

There are three vegetarians in this flick: Emily, Emily's Great Dane, and a blind guy named Ezra, (Woody Harrelson) who also stands to benefit from Ben's earthly departure. It's not clear how the veg angle ties into anything, but none of them gets preachy about their lifestyle choices, and no one else is making a LOT of fun of them for having a conscience (as most movies do--created by carnivores, of course). Nobody was going to make fun of the dog, anyway-at least not to his face. There's some deliberately off-key piano plunking on the sound track--and it's not clear what that's supposed to represent either. But it was annoying.

Forget about the mentally unstable sense of of self-sacrifice this picture may send to kids--it's likely to have more impact on ADULTS, many of whom are on the verge of doing something really bizarre at any time. So if you want me to give this film a backhanded compliment--what Ben did was definitely better than shooting up a mall and taking innocent folks along with him on his way out.


TIMMY'S TIDBITS: In 2008, Rosario Dawson attended the national conventions of BOTH the Democratic and Republican parties (hmm...that could give one a severe aversion to BALLOONS!)

As a rapper, Will Smith has had a number of hits, including: "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" (love that jiggy pudding during the holidays).