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SEVEN POUNDS, 2008
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SEVEN POUNDS
Movie Review
Directed by Gabriele Muccino
Starring: Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, Barry Pepper, Michael Ealy
Review by Matthew Toffolo



SYNOPSIS:

An IRS agent with a fateful secret embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers.

REVIEW:

Why oh why did you give us so much music? Seven Pounds has the makings of a great film, but it just overdoes it and I tend to think underestimates the audience members. Over and over again they give us this musical underscore in scenes where it's not even necessary.

There's a lot to learn in Seven Pounds and it's all about PACE and MUSIC. You need to nail the pace in the editing room (which is easier said than done) and you don't need to give us music to tell us how how to feel! We're not idiots and the actors performing the scenes give us enough.

Music is the referee of film. It's really only talked about when it's not working or when they give us way too much. A bad call is like a bad musical score during a moment in the scene. Why oh why are you giving us this?

Too much music is also like too much of one spice in the soup. You put too much Cayenne Pepper in and that's all that we taste. All of the other great mixes of taste are ruined. Just like Will Smith's and Rosario Dawson's performances in Seven Pounds. So much music is pounded down our throats, we only get to feel one thing and the actor's emotions they are pulling off in any given scene are wasted.

There was an interesting moment at the last WILDsound festival where a film came on that had no sound. Our projectionist made a mistake and for 30 seconds all we saw were some interesting images that was telling us the story. Then he went back and replayed the film with the sound and we saw a completely different movie.

That mistake taught me a lot. Sound and music is overused a lot of the time and the images get the short end of the stick. As the cliche goes: "A picture says a thousand words." Meaning it provokes a thousand feelings. Music these days in Hollywood is only giving us ONE feeling to feel and we are being limited by the movie watching experience.

Seven Pounds tells us what not to do when making a film. Get rid of the music, let the audience actually feel what they want to feel and be an actual part of the experience and you got yourself a much better movie. We want more. Meaning we want you to give us a lot less.

Another thing that happened in Seven Pounds was a PACING problem. The film starts off like a mystery as we learn a few things here and there and then we need to figure out what the complete story is. These are tough films to make and they usually either work really effectively or they don't at all. It's the art of giving the audience a little bit of crumbs to quench their hunger but not too much so they stay hungry until the final scene where they get a huge feast for their effort and patience. And it's all about the art of editing to pull this off. And there are a select few editors in the world who can do this.

Seven Pounds gives us too much too soon and we figure out the ending a lot sooner than we are suppose to. So during the 3rd act we just so through the emotional emotions to see the conclusion finally happen. Bottom line, they gave us too many crumbs.

So at the end of it all Seven Pounds is not a great film and it won't be remembered 6 weeks from now. But it could of been a really good film. Films are hard to make and what separates a great film from a not so great film is a very thin line. Sometimes you need to be lucky as other times you need to move onwards from the original blueprint (screenplay) you are given.

The makers of Seven Pounds obviously tried to make a great film. They just got unlucky and they really added way too much music. It's like they didn't even trust themselves in what they shot.

So this is what you call the learning film. Learning what not to do so you won't do it yourself.

This film won Best Director and Best Cinematography, and was nominated for five other categories. The screenwriter was nominated, and rightly so. Taken from a short story that first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1933 by Maurice Walsh, Green Rushes, Frank Nugent was able to weave a story rich in subtext and conflict.

The collector’s edition of the DVD includes an interview with Maureen O’Hara where she reminisces about filming The Quiet Man, and is well worth watching.

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