It’s not easy to watch “7 Days.” Most would agree for its sheer amount of thoroughly brutal and unflinching violence. I more blame its languid pace. Then again, Daniel Grou’s film is intended to bother, unsettle, disturb. If it doesn’t … well, please don’t visit our offices. Kthx.
Combining elements of “Law Abiding Citizen” and “The Last House on the Left,” the French-language thriller puts a serious crack in the happy family of surgeon Dr. Hamel (Claude Legault) and his wife (Fanny Mallette), as they grieve over the kidnapping, rape and subsequent murder of their innocent, 8-year-old daughter (Rose-Marie Coallier). Before too terribly long, the police have arrested their suspect, Lemaire (Martin Dubreuil), whose DNA was found all over “ and in “ her corpse, so much so that authorities consider a trial a mere formality.
Despite this slam-dunk case, the good doctor uses his wits to give Lemaire a taste of his own medicine, kidnapping the kidnapper and taking him to a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere. Hamel strips the criminal naked, ties him up and proceeds to torture the guy. If the sledgehammer scene in “Misery” made you cringe, that was just one shot. Here’s a whole film of such acts of revenge.
That entails such increasingly awful methods as peeing on Lemaire’s face, whipping him with chains, and even rerouting his intestinal tract so he “ how to put this? “ poops through his stomach. (That’s new.) Over the phone with his distraught wife, Hamel vows to do this for seven days, up to what would’ve been their girl’s birthday. Then he’ll kill Lemaire and turn himself in.
You may wish he’d started, say, three days before, rather than seven, even if the film’s biblical “eye for an eye” theme may not tie in. At nearly two hours, it’s not pleasant viewing. While quite well-made and definitely well-acted by our cat and mouse, “7 Days” cannot avoid falling into the trap of repetition. Its bleak cinematography, nearly stripped of all vibrancy, contributes to a pervading sour taste. “Rod Lott