Saturday, 6 March 2010

Film Review: SEVEN POUNDS (2008)

Director: Gabriele Muccino
Running time: 118 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 12

UK Release Date: 16th January 2009

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 6th March 2010.


I can’t say I’m the greatest fan of the work of Will Smith, but if he continues to produce performances like this I may have to change my view. I found him really engaging in the part of Ben Thomas, a tax collector with a heart… and a secret. There was the occasional glimpse of the clown he’s better known for, but these were fleeting enough to ignore. I have noticed he has matured in the last few performances I’ve seen, The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), which I wasn’t too enthralled with, and I Am Legend (2007), which I quite liked (see my review here: I Am Legend - Review). But enough of Mr Smith, I’ll tell you a bit more about the film.

Ben Thomas is a troubled man, we see him ranting at a telephone salesman, Ezra Turner, for no apparent reason. He has flashbacks of an incident in his past that has obviously affected him deeply. He talks on the phone to a man, possibly a lawyer, about a plan that they have as he goes about his business as an IRS tax collector. He helps an old woman in a nursing home to achieve some dignity after her doctor is less than caring. It’s almost like he’s looking for good people who are worth saving from the circumstances they find themselves in. As part of his search he finds Emily Posa, a young woman who has tax problems and a heart condition. The pair become friends and, when Emily collapses due to her condition, Ben stays by her bedside, which brings them even closer. There is also a sub-plot where Ben’s brother is trying to find him, exactly why I will not say, but it’s fairly crucial to the plot. I really can’t say any more without giving away crucial plot points, so I’ll leave my little synopsis here.

I have heard good reports about this film, and so was quite keen to see what all the fuss was about. A very well made film with quite a slow, deliberate pace. The music was pretty good too, but if you put the band Muse in the soundtrack, I’m bound to like it! A great performance from Will Smith as Ben Thomas and honourable mentions also go to Rosario Dawson as Emily Posa, Woody Harrelson as Ezra Turner, Michael Ealy as Ben’s brother and Barry Pepper as Dan Morris.

I wasn’t aware that the director, Gabriele Muccino, had also brought us The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), which I’ve already said I didn’t much enjoy. I was pleasantly surprised though, not just by the performance of Will Smith, but with the film as a whole. There is quite a sense of mystery at the beginning which sets the wheels in motion, unfortunately this cannot be maintained all the way through and it does get a bit bogged down towards the latter third. But very enjoyable none the less with a really great ending that may have you in tears! Over all, a really good, heart warming tale and a film I can recommend.

My score: 7.4/10

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