The previews for this movie don’t give a lot of details to clue you in to what this movie is about. The write up on Yahoo Movies is just as vague: “Ben Thomas is an IRS agent with a fateful secret who embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers.” So, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but the intrigue made this movie one that had to go on our “to do” list during Mom’s visit. Well, we went to see it today — here’s my review:
I won’t spoil the movie by giving too many details, but the basic premise is that Will Smith plays a man who feels he needs to redeem himself for a horrible accident that claimed the lives of seven people by significantly changing the lives of seven strangers. The movie starts with Will Smith’s voice stating that the world was created in 7 days and in 7 seconds he shattered his world! The opening scene is him calling 911 to report a suicide – his own! Then, it gets REALLY confusing — he bounces around between current events and flashbacks in random order and no real logic or way to tell what is now and what is then….the first 45 minutes or so (maybe as much as the first 1/2 of the 1 hr 58 min movie) is painful — confusing mix of dots that just don’t seem to be connecting and little hope that they will ever connect!!! In that time, it is slow, boring, and uninteresting.
With that said — the movie, like the character, does redeem itself!!! Once you start to connect the dots and understand what is happening, it starts to get good. Not great – but good! The story is a very strange concept – both disturbing and heart wrenching at the same time. On one hand you wonder what sick mind thinks up such a story and on the other hand you are touched at the idea of what the character is doing to make such a profound difference in the lives of seven strangers! The final scenes are intense and sad, but the movie ends on an up beat that does leave you feeling that the character did a wonderful thing…….but getting there is long and takes a lot of work! You really do have to work at putting it all together – they attempt to tie it up for you at the end, but they still leave the viewer to try to remember what happened earlier in the movie to fill in some of the gaps.
I rate this one a B Minus— if I break the movie down, I would give the first 1/2 a C or less and the second 1/2 a B+ or “maybe” an A-! The overall story was good (again, not great, but good), the acting was a little flat, and that whole first 1/2 was just plain painful……..I recommend waiting and seeing it on DVD or cable – you might be disappointed if you pay full price at the theater to see it (we’re glad we paid matinee prices, but would have been happier if I got it on Netflix) — regardless of the venue, if you do decide to see this movie, don’t get discouraged during the first half — stick with it and pay attention — it will all make sense by the end….