movie reviews

Seven Pounds (2008)

7pounds

Seven Pounds is an intense, heavy, human drama. Ben (Will Smith), a IRS agent, is a man on a mission who harbors a dark secret. He goes around investigating a list of people. We soon learn that these people have something in common, they all need help. There is a blind vegan meat salesman, a battered woman trying to get away from her abusive ex, a frail old woman and several other people in difficult circumstances. When Ben investigates Emily (Rosario Dawson), a sweet, charming woman with a heart condition, he finds himself being drawn to her. When they fall in love it is a big stick getting stuck in the spokes of the wheels of his plan. His feelings for Emily and the happiness he had been experiencing and throws him into doubt. For the longest time he had been racked with guilt, neglecting himself, focused only on his plan, believing that he could not have anything for himself. Ben is not entirely who he seems to be and it soon be comes clear what he is planning and why.

This movie is in a word brilliant. The title, “Seven Pounds”, refers to the expression “seven pounds of flesh”, which in the case of this film is both metaphorical and refers to something slightly more literal. It is a story of love, guilt, kindness, contrition and redemption. The story line is slightly non-linear. Action starts with a flash forward f and then jumps back in time to where Ben is busy investigating the people on his list. The editing between flash the investigation, the execution of the plan, Ben’s dark secret and the aftermath of his plan.

Seven Pounds is extremely intriguing and incredibly well written. The story gut-wrenching especially upon subsequent viewings, when you already know what Ben is up to. The score underline the emotion of the film. Is it melodramatic? It could potentially be given the story and the messages it contains, but I think it was executed in very well.

The director, Gabriele Muccino, did a wonderful job with orchestrating such a beautiful film and getting great performances from the actors. Will Smith gave a very emotionally charged, sensitive performance as Ben (comparable to his performance in The Pursuit of Happyness, also directed by Gabriele Muccino). Rosario Dawson is perfect. The supporting cast also did a great job at creating a touching experience.

 

Cast includes: Woody Harelson, Micheal Ealy, Barry Pepper, Elpidia Carrillo, Joe Nunez …

Director: Gabriele Muccino (The Persuit of Happyness * Remenber Me, My Love * TheLast Kiss)
Screenplay: Grant Nieporte
Release: 2008 (USA)
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 2 h 3min

 

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movie reviews

The Wrestler (2008)

wrestler

Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) is an aging professional wrestler. He struggles to make rent and has to pick up extra shifts at his day job.  The years of beatings to his body, steroid abuse and hair bleaching is taking its toll.  He seems to be pretty lonely.  He has regularly visits a stripper, Cassidy (Marissa Tomei), whom he develops an interest in.  His doctor recommends that he quits wrestling and Randy makes an effort to adjust to “normal” life. He tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood), but she’s not too keen.  As things go awry, Randy finds himself being drawn back into wrestling.

The Wrestler was a big comeback for Mickey Rourke (actually his comeback was in 2005’s Sin City, but The Wrestler is a bigger role) who was quite popular in the 1980s (see 9½ Weeks and Angel Heart).  Rourke won best actor Golden Globe, BAFTA , Screen Actors Guild Award, etc and was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as Randy.  The lovely Marissa Tomei was nominated for and/or won several awards for her performance as Cassidy.

I’m not really into wrestling, but I thought the movie is quite brilliant. Like other films from director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan), The Wrestler is a portrait of human obsession and habit. It’s not a feel-good movie.  Randy’s world is pretty bleak. It is gritty and feels very real.

I would recommend this movie if you’re into serious human drama.


Written by: Robert Siegel
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Release: 2008
Rating: R
Running time: 1h 49min.

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