How a Will Smith film could've gotten all the way to DVD without me reading a single review of it is beyond me, but Seven Pounds' lack of publicity made it all the more interesting to watch.
Still suffering from post-traumatic stress years after the death of his wife, Ben Thomas (Smith, I Am Legend) goes on a mission: He utilizes his job as an IRS agent to help unfortunates in need. But Ben's secret plan unravels when he begins to fall for a sick Emily (Rosario Dawson, Sin City), one of his unknowing beneficiaries. Can Emily discover Ben's secret before her time runs out?
Smith re-teamed with Italian director Gabriele Muccino (2006's The Pursuit of Happyness) for this project, and with similar results. Something about Will Smith begs a viewer to sympathize with his situation—while Muccino demonstrates an innate ability to capture it brilliantly. And featuring well-cast bit players Woody Harrelson, Barry Pepper and Michael Ealy, first-time feature writer Grant Nieporte's beautifully bittersweet script shines.
A friend commented that this film has a Pay It Forward vibe, and that's true. But whereas that 2000 film seemed a little too simplistic and featured an annoying juvenile lead, Seven Pounds has a brilliantly layered story and top-notch performances.
Maybe you're uber-perceptive and will see the plot twists coming, or you aren't in the mood for overly emotional fare. If so, you might pass on this title. Otherwise, you can't go wrong.
This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.