Archive for the ‘7 Pounds’ Category

Movie Review: 7 Pounds

May 1, 2009

I’ve been at a bit of an impasse lately here on this blog. It’s not that over the years I haven’t gone a week, or a month, without a single update, but this is different. Those spaces of inactivity were just that, inactivity. I wasn’t writing anything, or thinking about writing anything, but the past week, I’ve had many ideas for posts, and it’s not like I’ve done thing about it. I’ve got pages and pages of notes, but nothing has been finished. I’m considering posting the fragments, the starts, misstarts, notes, whatever it is I’ve got. I’ve been thinking about it. I could do a massive dump of unfinished material, not that anything is ever really finished here, and maybe this is my issue. Something. I am trying to do something here. There is an attempt at an articulation, an articulation that is impossible if I keep trying to hold it together. And here I am trying write freely, while trying to hold it together. Not that I’m holding much together, not that at this point letting go is a very far fall. I’m on the lower branches of this here tree.

A critic of mine recently said that blogging was like breathing, it’s nothing, it’s what you do in your normal everyday existence, a completely unimportant thing; not something you should take time out of your day to do. We’ve all got these critics, some are people we hardly even know. The subtle criticism, a form of humiliation, a gentle chiding to get with the program. Here I am trying to write the revolution, my revolution, here I am trying to live my revolution, I want to deprogram myself, this is the experiment. I have you in me, I can actually hear you as I think, thinking over and through me, calling my writing a form of self-justification, justifying what it is that I want to do, but what of standing in line when you don’t want to as the ‘system’ reproduces itself? What of actions that need no justification, this is the way things are… What? Didn’t you say you want change? Can change come from comfortably redoing what is? I am troubled by my need to justify. Reconstituting yourself in a new social, it’s got to be uncomfortable. The look on Will Smiths face in Seven Pounds, regardless of what you think of his acting, or in this case, overacting, really would suicide come so often as a shock if real-life suicidal people looked at you with a screwed up face of tortured anguish, like at any moment their face is going to implode in a puddle of tears? That look is an actor’s artistic expression of this discomfort. Otherwise, like in real life, you wouldn’t see it. “He looked fine, was talking about the future, seemed happy…”

Seven Pounds, ok, movies are timely, constitutive, and heavily financed, even if the makers are considered ‘Hollywood Left‘, that designation carries a very different set of values than say, working-class left. So here we have a long slow meditation on extremely deliberate suicide. Why? All movies are made for a reason. All movies are doing something for someone. Money is always making something happen for someone. So the questions are always, who is this for? who is this from? and why? But also what can we do with it? Can we treat it allegorically?

Will Smith plays a wheeler dealer, with his eye on business, only business, not on the road, he loses everything worth living for. At some point he decides to altruistically give his body away. He investigates people in need of physical parts to see if they are good people. I note with interest the violence (he slams the head of a ‘bad man’ into and shattering a glass pane) he inflicts on bad people. He slowly gives away his body parts, and finally his heart and eyes are donated in a suicidal bathtub scene oddly reminiscent of a Britney Spears video, The last scene is a reuniting of his eyes and heart. The world is a better place for his reconstituting of his self into a new and better social body.

The anguish of becoming something other than what we are is shown graphically. He gives bone marrow without anaesthetic, and finally lowers himself into a tub of ice, and is stung by a jellyfish. This is deliberate and painful. Restitution hurts? Who is this movie taking to? What is being said?