Seven Pounds (UK - BD RB)
Our Marcus would love to tell you what this movie's about, but it'd just be mean
I'll be treading very careful with this one, so as not to give anything away. Will Smith plays a man who is dealing with something from his past. He is seemingly... okay, even writing a brief introduction for Seven Pounds may unintentionally hint at the movie's big reveal, so let’s just go with Will Smith plays a man who is dealing with something from his past and leave it at that shall we?
As I’m opting to keep a lot of the plot points quiet in this review, mainly down to the fact that the movie plays on us not knowing for almost its entire duration, I’ll hop straight onto the cast. Will Smith once again teams up with Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino and together they provide another solid drama, even if it’s not quite as impressive as their previous collaboration.
Will goes for a more distant role than we’re used to seeing him in, almost playing a ghost of man (no that’s not a hint at the reveal—this is not The Sixth Sense) who’s providing a stable, friendly exterior to the world around him but inside he’s broken beyond repair. Generally, Will does a bang up believable job of this, even if sometimes you can see the cogs spinning on his ‘dramatic mode’ and Will’s character is one that had me intrigued to know more about.
Rosario Dawson’s Emily Posa is a nice counter to Will’s character, in that she is warm, welcoming and just a delight. Rosario shines in pretty much everything she does; always having that level of naturalness to her performances and easily someone the audience can fall in love with.
Seven Pounds plays out with its cards extremely close to its chest, drip feeding information on the lead up to its climactic events. Speaking as loosely as possible, I will say that the majority of this works well, even if it can sometimes feel a little slow getting to the point that the audience may have already reached themselves. The cast and their performances are strong enough to keep you on board even if some of them are merely pawns playing their parts for the emotional punch of the final scenes and generally the pacing and control over how much information is given to us and when, is something I found quite refreshing within a Hollywood movie.
Although this feels a little like a movie that will be lost among Will Smith’s stronger, flashier roles in years to come, it’s a nice stepping stone for Will towards him inevitably getting that role to show him off as an all round actor without it playing on or indeed against his Hollywood status.
Sony generally provides a good HD transfer, especially for their Will Smith movies, and here is no exception. Transfers like this should be the standard we expect as a bare minimum for our HD movies. Colours are natural and warm, the image is generally clean with only the slightest presence of grain, and the majority of the darker scenes hold up well.
The palette here is quite a mixed bag, using a lot of cool greys, blues and greens in the interiors and then switching to moments that total counter the coldness with bright, warm exteriors using the summery setting nicely. As the movie gets bleaker, the exterior shots seems to get more and more bathed in a strong white light, which can sometimes mute the detail, but it’s still a pleasant looking image.
This is a solid HD transfer with some fine textures and details in places, but generally it's far from exceptional.
This is another dialogue heavy movie that isn’t going to win any awards for its audio design. There really isn’t much going in at all beyond the dialogue in the front speakers with rear speakers used only for echoes and the odd atmospheric.
The subtle, emotional score sits quite well within the track with a few pieces blending nicely across the 5.1 system. The multiple layered strings and piano keys fill the room with a pleasant presence. Some of the songs on the soundtrack sit nicely as well, even if they are quite subdued as background music as opposed to at the forefront. The only music that really does take over everything is a Muse track but it just doesn’t feel powerful enough on volume or bass and within the context of the movie, it feels a little clunky and out of place.
Gabriele Muccino's commentary starts off with a playful and thoughtful feel but can be quite tough in places due to his slightly broken English. It's fairly consistent track despite a few dull moments and the quiet periods get longer towards the end until the big reveal arrives and Muccino gets to throw his feeling in.
'Seven Views on Seven Pounds' is split down into seven segments: ‘The Writer’ (03:40 HD), ‘The Producers’ (00:54 HD), The Director (05:53 HD), ‘The Location Manager’ (0 5:58 HD), ‘The Designer’ (0 2:09 HD), ‘The Editor ‘(0 4:50 HD) and ‘The Composer’ (0 6:01 HD). While individually quite short, together in the play all selection, they cover everything a making of needs. Out of the seven, I thought the writer's segment was the most interesting, doing a pretty good job at explaining his motivations in telling the story and covering some back-story to some of the elements included. I also enjoyed the composer Angello Milli segment, but that was mainly just to listen to some more of his pretty great score, which reminded me a little of the Unbreakable score in places.
'Creating the Perfect Ensemble' (12:56 HD) takes a look at the group of actors as a whole. I personal don't consider this movie an ensemble piece, despite faces like Woody Harrelson and Barry Pepper popping up in strong supporting roles. This is very much Will Smith at front and centre with Rosario as the love interest and even though it shares similarities with the likes of Crash in one or two of its themes, this just isn't a movie that's about the entire cast as much as it is about its main stars journey.
'The Box Jellyfish: World Deadliest Co-star' (0 4:58 HD) takes a scientific look at one mean bit of sea life, while 'Emily's Passion: The Art of the Printing Press' (0 8:44 HD) takes a historical look at press printing. Both of which are featured as story elements.
As for the deleted scenes there are about four minutes worth, all of which are fillers that were obviously not needed in the final film.
Trailers wise we get 'Blu-ray Disc is High Definition', Angels and Demons, Rachel Getting Married, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Not Easily Broken, Hancock and of course The Pursuit of Happyness. There's also some BD Live.
I really like what Seven Pounds is trying to do, it's quite brave in its approach and is a refreshing change of pace for Will Smith. Despite this praise, I don't feel that it was entirely successful and it left me with questions and not quite the sense of satisfaction I was expecting from it, despite respecting its overall message.
A/V does a solid job but is never exceptional and I found the features a little dull overall, but then this isn't a movie that really could have delivered anything too substantial on this front anyway, so the fact we got any at all is a good thing.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over
Release Date: 25th May 2009
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English, Audio Description 5.1 English, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 German, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Italian
Subtitles: Danish, Dutch, English, English HoH, Finnish, German, Hindi, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Turkish
Extras: Audio Commentary with Director Gabriele Muccino, Deleted Scenes, Seven Views on Seven Pounds, Creating the Perfect Ensemble, The Box Jellyfish: World's Deadliest Co-Star, Emily's Passion: The Art of the Printing Press
Easter Egg: No
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Cast: Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Barry Pepper
Length: 123 minutes
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