SEVEN POUNDS OPENING SCENE ANALYSIS
I thought that Seven Pounds' opening scene was brilliantly emotionally stimulating, and in my opinion, one of the best movie openings ever to be made.
Firstly, you see a distraugh Will Smith, looking rather distressed, calling the police to report a suicide, which he then reveals to be his own. From this moment on the audience are immediately hooked. The fact the director chose to put this at the beginning leads to a very complex emotional experience of the movie all throughout, as we are aware of him being ready to commit suicide at some point. This scene sets the genre to be a definite drama, but we are still very unsure of things. The character is established, whilst his setting is also established through speech, and so we are aware he is in some sort of motel, and not his actual home. This leads to intrigue, with the audience questioning why he is not in his home, has he been kicked out? Has he been planning something? There is also a scene later on where he checks into this motel, and instantly, as an audience we feel tense,, as we know he plans to commit suicide there. There is also a lot of times where he is in conversation with the landlord of the motel, and he jokingly hints at his planned death there, which only we as an audience understand.
Another effect in placing this at the beginning is that all throughout the move, especially when his budding relationship with co-star Rosario Dawson, makes movie so hard to watch as you see their lives join together wonderfully, when you know what the end result will be. The audience I'm sure, like me, still wanted to keep hold of that hope that maybe he'll be stopped before that, and so the audience are constantly on the edge, throughout the whole film because of this opening.
Now some may disagree with this being brilliant, feeling that it is just a spoiler and looses all the suspense about 'what's going to happen'. However I do think that it in fact makes you feel even more tense, whilst you watch his life pan out, with this terrible knowledge in your head simultaneously, and creates an even more emotional experience for the audience, especially when things are going so well for him.
The next scene in this introduction is a dynamic view from underwater of Will Smith swimming in a vast, beautiful sea, whilst he talks in a very slow and emotional voice on top of this saying that "In seven days, God created the world. And in seven seconds, I shattered mine." The use of such a beautiful scenery on top of the sad message was very contrasting, and leaves the audience intrigued, because his life seems so beautiful, yet when he speaks it tells a very different story. In addition, we as an audience wonder how he 'shattered' his life in 'seven seconds, and want to keep viewing in the hope that we will find out. Again, another setting is established, through a close up of his legs and feet, which pans out into a very wide shot of what seems to be his house/beach house.
We then see Will Smith dressing smartly in a suit, looking at himself in the mirror, with a painfully emotional look and we get a mid shot from behind of him sitting on a sofa very tensely, and as an audience we are very concerned, as we want to know what he has done to his life that is causing him this much pain.
We then see him look at a list of names, with most having been scribbled on with a pen, and the focus is on one circuled name of 'Ezre Turner'. We then see him calling up this person at his work. As the scene briefly goes on we learn the characters name, Ben Thomas, and we also see Will Smith verbally abuse this man, abusing him for his relgion and blindness, and saying cruel and horrifying things to this poor man. Will Smith constantly pushes Ezre, trying to get him to fight back, but Ezre remains calm throughout, though awfully hurt. Now, as an audience we feel disgusted at what we have just seen, and now on top of this fundamental pity and concern for Will Smith, we now feel hate, and wonder why on earth he is acting in such a foul way. Once Ezre has hung up, we see 'Ben Thomas' almost react in the same way that we do, but with himself, and this leaves us completely compelled to know this man's story, situation and why he is doing what he doing.
It is a very emotionally compelling and intriguing opening, which also leaves the audience very confused and unsure of how to feel about what they have seen, whilst still compelled to watch more.