Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Seven Pounds"

Living in a town to which "The Reader," "The Wrestler," or even "Milk" have not yet arrived, I recently found myself, encouraged by friends and by the casting of Will Smith, at a movie I might otherwise have missed. Despite murmurings of a "twist," I found it very predictable (the movie, after all, opens with Smith telling you what his plans are, and then unfolds quite clearly with his guilt in flashbacks, and, in others, with cancer, and renal failure, and heart trouble, and blindness) and so I was more than a little shocked to hear so much sniffling around me. Sure, as guest Nancy Merchand stated in an episode of TV's Homicide: Life on the Street (and I may be paraphrasing) "A rare gesture in an uncivilized world," but do people not even consider what anti-gift the impact of suicide has on those around them? And when a man gives his heart to a woman, isn't the romance lost when this is concretized? To kiss becomes cruel.
Shylock demands his pound of flesh, but Smith's character seems to believe seven pounds are required for recompense of seven deaths. While some have said this film is about the search for redemption, I agree with Rafer Guzman that the film is morally confused. Each has the right to seek his own path, but guilt, grief, and depression all demand treatment, not idealization. Director Gabriele Muccino and writer Grant Nieporte missed the boat on this one. And did others miss that the brother accused Smith of taking something from him, or that Smith had made money as an aeronautics engineer? I, too, may have missed the boat on this movie, or, at least, wished I missed the boat to the movie theater.