7 DAYS - On Demand Direct from the Sundance Film FestivalFebruary 04, 2010

7 DAYS - On Demand Direct from the Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Selects

Updated...
 
On Demand Weekly reviews movies on demand from the perspective of watching them from the comfort of your home. Currently, the Sundance Selects film label as part of the Direct from the Sundance Film Festival initiative is choosing three films being screened at the festival that will simultaneously be available nationwide On Demand. Daniel Grou's "7 Days" is one of them as it made its North American premiere on January 22nd at SFF 2010 and is available now On Demand.
 
Bruno Hamel (Claude Legault) is a successful surgeon whose world is torn apart by the rape and murder of his precious eight-year-old daughter. Soon after the perpetrator (Martin Dubreuil) is caught, Hamel embarks on a quest for revenge. He successfully kidnaps the suspect and drives him to a remote cabin where seven days of torture awaits -- the final day lands on his daughter's ninth birthday. The main detective (Remy Girard), older, wiser, and also suffering from his wife's senseless death, tries his best to track Hamel down and stop him before he turns into a monster himself. Hamel has the upper hand, but does he have what it takes to commit murder?
 
"7 Days" joins the father revenge genre along with, most recently in the US, Mel Gibson's Edge of Darkness, Liam Neeson's Taken, and Gerard Butler's Law Abiding Citizen but this film differentiates itself from those flashier action movies in that Bruno Hamel is not a detective or CIA operative with special skills. He's a regular guy, albeit one whose med school prepared him incredibly well for diabolical behavior. It is also a French film, (in the French language) which skews the genre considerably.
 
7 DAYS - On Demand Direct from the Sundance Film Festival
 
Director Daniel Grou (aka "Podz") employs many fixed camera positions and slow, deliberate action instead of the expected hand-held "look at me, I'm gritty!" cam. The cinematography and framing are pristine, perhaps done to evoke a sense of cold calculation. Silence is often effectively used and overall there is sparse dialogue, especially during the encounters between Hamel and his captive prey (Hamel doesn't speak to the man at all until the very last scene.) The tension isn't urgent, as in American thrillers -- Hamel slowly does his thing and the police plod through their day. We know we've got seven days until serious confrontation from the title. Despite all the emotive undertones in the film, emotion in general feels muted. The film is cold, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
 
I did sometimes feel the pull of "familiar elements," (those things that can entertain masses and bore snobs). It was disappointing to see a page directly from The Silence of the Lambs with a police raid on the wrong house, shot like they're outside Hamel's door even though it's been made very obvious they are nowhere near each other. It's also dubious that Hamel gets away with all this high level cloak and dagger stuff that won't be mentioned for ruining the film. But what kind of surgeon is this guy? And though it has a few "conscience" moments, the film ultimately feels like it was made strictly for this wish fulfillment murder-revenge-fantasy -- and honestly, I must admit, I enjoyed the revenge on the rapist-murderer so much, I'm perfectly OK with that.
 
7 DAYS - On Demand Direct from the Sundance Film Festival
 
Performances are even throughout with special kudos going to Martin Dubreuil who plays the rapist-murderer-victim. His fear, anger and above all pain are completely real and flawlessly pulled off. Plus he plays almost the full film completely naked (long, cold shooting days). The torture scenes start simple (think Misery) and become increasingly more heinous (not quite Saw but in context equally sick.) Effects in this category are top notch, as are technicals for the film.
 
Thrillers are easy to dump on and pick apart, pointing at source material and re-treads, but if you like revenge thrillers and have fantasized about getting even with someone who hurt someone close to you, you will be entertained. Watch it On Demand as it premieres in Sundance and be grossed out with the rest of the crowd at the midnight screening at the Egyptian Theater in Park City - and for the following month!
 
Sean McPhillips is a new contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. He is a former vice president of acquisitions for Miramax Films (During Harvey's reign). He is a current writer/director for NY-based Secret Hideout Films
 

 

7 DAYS (105 min) TV MA

Begins: 1/23/10

Ends:     2/26/10
 
The films featured through the Sundance Institute and Sundance Selects partnership will be available on video-on-demand the same day each premieres at the Sundance Film Festival, and will be available in approximately 40 million homes on most major cable systems including Comcast, Cablevision, Cox, Time Warner, plus the satellite provider Direct TV.   The “Direct From the Sundance Film Festival” films will be found on the main movies-on-demand platforms of each cable and satellite provider.
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