Monday, January 5, 2009

Seven pounds

Seven Pounds is an anti consumption movie in the Hollywood style meaning that not too much is left to interpretation or mystery. The plot is straightforward and dense until almost the end of the movie and then in one marvelous, crash, sequence everything comes together, the motive and character are revealed and the film then wraps up as the ultimate bittersweet love story. The style of the movie is such that its hard to give the story away- saying for example that its about a suicide doesn't really reveal the plot. In this way its much like Chronicles of Death Foretold by Gabriela Garcia Marquez.

Will Smith's character is struck by remorse that he had spent his whole life working to obtain the toys of modern living and not enjoying life with the ones he loved. The act of working ends up destroying his world- typical hollywood drama. And timely too as the state bans texting. He responds by working to right the wrong and give life back. Here the story mimics a bunch of good crash aftermath movies likes Bella which was apparently a true love story, Crash which involved more than just a crash and involves the process rather than the aftermath, Passion Fish which involves a white person learning to live again after a black person teaches her that there is more to life after a major injury crash than wallowing in self pity (Hmmm....), and Monster Ball, the opposite of Passion Fish in race relations.

His acts of atonement for some reason reminded me of WallE cleaning up all that garbage. The poignant part of the movie lies in the recycling of these lives around us. However unlike Sicko by Michael Moore, the health care system seems to be work here, even for people who can't afford anything. Isn't that nice? a real Hollywood touch.

Crashes are a much bigger element in life than in the movies. After all its the movies and in general the Will Smith films feature major car chases in which only the bad guys get injured. Men in Black and Bad Boys were car happy movies followed by I am Legend in which he purposefully gets to run over the bad guys. As if to cement his tough as nails image from his past movies there is scene in Seven Pounds where he donates bone marrow without anesthesia. And of course by the end of movie he has played a larger than life supper hero role is saving seven people. The safe message here undelivered would be that crashes arn't accidents.

But what was the seven pounds in the title all about? Is it MacBeth?

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