Seven Pounds is probably one of Will Smith’s more interesting dramatic roles, along the lines of “The Pursuit of Happyness” and 1993’s “Six Degrees Of Separation”. The story feels almost cut and presented in pieces so that you don’t know exactly what Will Smith’s character, Ben Thomas, is up to. All you can really tell is that he’s an IRS agent out to help seven people and even that isn’t fully revealed until the final scene. As Thomas keeps his secret from the other characters in the film, the audience is also left in the dark. This makes it all the more harder to review a film without spoiling it, but it’s not exactly “The Sixth Sense” either.
The story is, simply put, a complicated journey towards redemption. So far, it has been receiving generally negative reviews from film critics, but I will admit to the fact that I actually enjoyed it. Smith’s portrayal of a tormented, introverted soul out to restore himself in the only way he knows how, is pretty captivating. For most viewers, Ben’s “secret” isn’t exactly well kept throughout the film and you’ll probably be able to guess it mid-way through. However, it’s really the journey that is impressive and various forms of symbolism littered throughout. The weight of guilt; the measure of sacrifice, Seven Pounds is, in the end, a tragedy in rare form. And it keeps one well-invested enough in seeing the story resolve itself.
You will either like it, hate it, or attempt to briefly dissect it’s riddled puzzles with a friend, the latter act is one that might require a second showing. In either case, it’s not one of those movies where you can chat with the person next to you throughout it, and then expect to be fully compensated in the end. The narrative does require a degree of concentration and sentimental, if not emotional investment on the part of the viewer. That alone is something critics and viewers alike tend to hate doing.