Friday, January 16, 2009

Seven Pounds - Movie Review


Well, watching this movie led to the tea lady and I reflecting on all of the movies we have seen together and wondering if any of them have been any good at all. The post will be a bit of a spoiler so if you're intending on watching this movie consider yourself warned.

Seven Pounds is one of those movies where someone very clever has worked on the screenplay so that you are so busy trying to work out WTF is going on that you don't immediately notice that the plot is actually very thin and the central point of the movie is really quite lame.

Will Smith was quite good as Ben Thomas (who we later find out is actually Tim Thomas) but the biggest impression I have of him from this movie is how long and scrawny his neck looks when he's in a suit. In the first scene, he calls 911 to report a suicide - when asked who the victim is, he replies that it's him. WTF the audience utters for the first of many times.

Scene two and Mr Thomas is being intensely cruel to a blind telephone salesman for a meat company. The scene ends with Mr Thomas exceptionally frustrated with a hint of self-loathing culminating in some smashed furniture and a manic repetition of seven names that, up to that point have no apparent meaning. WTF we say again.

And so the movie goes on with Mr Thomas as an IRS agent, which he is clearly not thanks to overuse of the all too obvious statement to the people who interacts with him to call him if someone from the IRS contacts them.

There are also flashbacks to intensify the confusion of the audience, particularly as the flashbacks don't really provide any insight other than that Mr Thomas had a wife whom he loved and who is apparently no longer in his life.

The common thread in the people that Mr Thomas interacts with is that they are all sick. Now I am the worst plot-picker in the world so if I can pick the plot of a movie then that's saying something and it was around this point that I worked out what was going on. Mr Thomas is going to commit suicide and donate as much of his body as he can to saving others, as long as they are worthy people, which is what he is trying to find out. I was ready to go home at this point but then something exceptionally exciting happened....

As many of you many know, the weather here was in the 40's but a storm set in and there was a power interruption at the movie theatre (yes, the exciting thing was in real life, not in the actual movie). The power interruption apparently caused a big problem in the projection box and the film stopped on one frame and then the light began to warp the film so a big psychedelic blob appeared in the middle of the screen and "ate" the picture from the inside out. The was complete with tendrils of smoke as the film melted away until the screen was just a blank white mass. It took a few minutes for someone in authority (read: an acne-adorned teen armed with a walkie-talkie) came in and the lights were flicked on. The problem was never fully explained but it apparently affected all of the theatres but they were able to fix it and the movie continued. More's the shame.

So, there was a bit of a love story with Mr Thomas and the girl he was going to donate his heart to (who'd have thought it was safe to have hot and raunchy sex with a girl categorised as a status 1 bad heart?) and some doubt as to whether he was going to go through with his plan which we kinda figured he would cause of the 911 call at the start of the movie. And then we saw the flashback to where he crashed his car because he was reading work messages on his mobile thereby killing his wife and the passengers of another car - totalling seven lives (although presumably not classified as culpable driving). And then he killed himself and then his heart was donated to the girl with the heart problem and his eyes were donated to the blind guy he abused over the phone. And then there were some random short scenes about how he actually saved seven people's lives - partial lung donation to his brother, kidney donation, bone marrow transplant (we saw this bit in the movie, done without anaesthetic presumably because he felt he had to suffer for his sins and links to the movie title in the adage of paying seven pounds of flesh for your sins), heart, eyes and whatever else it was that made up the seven redemptive acts.

And that was it. Not a great movie but ok enough.

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