7 Days (Les 7 jours du talion) Reviews
"Every time you torture that man, you're killing your daughter again."
This is *so* not the movie I was expecting. Honestly, the marketing gets this all wrong but I understand why: it's pitched as a kind of Saw/Hostel torture-porn (I *hate* that term) - a film in which the lead well get bloody and sadistic revenge on the man who raped then murdered his 8 year-old daughter, over the course of one week. This is not what 7 Days is at all. It's a shocking film there's no doubt about that, and it is graphic in places. But what it isn't is exploitative or sensationalist. It's bloody and gory but the film does not intend the viewer to get off on this. Neither, however, is the viewer necessarily invited to be feeling the victim's pain or empathising with him, given the horrific crime he himself has perpetrated. Instead, it's a meditation on grief, an exploration of vengeance, and finally, like all good films should be, it's an argument that vengeance is simply not an answer. An eye for an eye, to paraphrase Ghandi, will make the world blind. There is a turning point that you can see from the reactions and the body language of lead actor Claude Legault (here giving a performance of real substance and complexity) where there's a realisation that things are not working out the way they had been planned for. From here, the film *could* have easily gone one of two ways, but instead there are no easy answers, no offensive rhetoric.
Towards the end of this film is one of the most moving scenes I have ever seen. I won't spoil it here, but it's a brave thing to have written and shot as it could have so easily been fudged. Instead, it quietly elevates 7 Days to something quite extraordinarily brilliant.
"7 Days" itself is very well done, technically and artistically.
Surgeon Bruno Hamel lives in fine house with his loving wife and eight year old daughter 'Jasmine' (Rose-Marie Coallier). One fine morning Bruno kisses Jasmine before she leaves for her school on foot. The very evening, Bruno answers knock at the door, only to be surprised by Jasmine's classmate who gives him homework for his daughter, who did not appear in the school. Bruno calls the police and joins him in search of his daughter - the police and Bruno locate dead-body of Jasmine, raped and tortured. Police detective Mercury (Rémy Girard) who has himself been suffering from memories of his wife, who was murdered in supermarket-burglary - caught on CCTV footage, that he watches most of the time. Mercury informs Bruno that perpetrator has been caught (after matching of DNA from sperm on victim's body) but the court-proceedings are going to be formality, nothing else. Bruno devises his secret plan, rents a cottage for ($10,000 per day) in woods, buys surgical instruments, and successfully abducts Jasmine's rapist-cum-murderer 'Lemaire' (Martin Dubreuil). Bruno ties him in the cottage and inflicts harsh tortures upon him for 7 days.
It does sound like that usual story you often hear - and to some degree I quite agree with you on that thought. The directing and acting are good - but most of the time the filmmaker does not know what to do next. I mean 7 days title is emphatic and it gives you a thought about what might be in store for you. For me those 7 days passed with no impactful memory of the previous days (what could've actually taken place). - I only noticed a big blow on thigh of the victim by huge hammer, incineration of kidney, and few iron whips.
The film echoes some valid questions about, justice, anguish, law-protection etc.