Where there’s a Will…
Ben Thompson (Will Smith) is an IRS agent with a difference. Driven by a personal need for redemption he is moved to help those people he deems worthy of a second chance. People like Emily Rosa (Rosario Dawson), a seriously ill heart patient who has fallen behind with her taxes. As Ben’s philanthropy becomes an obsession, he and Emily grow ever close – but it soon becomes clear that Ben is hiding a secret from his past that will change everything
To divulge any more would be to spoil Seven Pounds, as it’s certainly one of those films that benefits from its audience knowing nothing about it. And it is a beautifully constructed film, Ben’s truths revealing themselves in slow, tantalizing details through fragmented flashbacks and snatches of conversation. But it’s only at the end that all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, the full story coming into sharp focus. And it’s a brave move; if you haven’t bought into the proccedings so far you may find it utterly ridiculous, but if you have fallen under the film’s spell it’s a deeply moving dénouement that makes perfect sense.
Praise, too, must go to Will Smith for a performance that proves just why he’s one of Hollywood’s persistent heavy-hitters. The complete opposite from his abrasive turn as Hancock, his portrayal of Ben is devastating as he expresses his character’s repressed pain with a quiet intensity that adds weight to his every move. And supporting cast members Dawson, Barry Pepper and Woody Harrelson are also excellent, helping steer the film away from the mushy melodrama it could so easily have become.
But this is undoubtedly Smith’s film and, led by his outstanding performance, Seven Pounds becomes a mesmerising, powerful piece of film-making that, although not completely perfect – some of those helped by Ben aren’t fleshed out enough, for example – has the courage of its convictions to the end. 4 stars
There’s a great commentary with director Gabriele Muccino, who also oversaw Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness, plus a handful of deleted scenes and featurettes – the most interesting of which is on the Box Jellyfish that appears in the film. 3 stars
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Stars Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson
Director Gabriele Muccino
Distributor Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Released May 25