With films like Irreversible and Baise-moi, the French have carved out a niche in dilemma films, where the protagonists’ actions, as repulsive as they may seem, are the result of an unthinkable crime committed against them. Unlike the likes of the Saw franchise, the films tend to be thoughtful and intelligent, whilst offering a vicious streak that leaves the viewer unsure about which side of the fence they should be falling on.
7 Days continues this by presenting the story of Bruno, a surgeon, and his wife, Sylvie, who discover that their little daughter, Jasmine, has been kidnapped, raped and murdered by a paedophile, Anthony Lemaire.
With the love of Bruno and Sylvie destroyed by Lemaire’s actions, Bruno sets about kidnapping Lemaire, intent on delivering his own form of vicious justice upon the murderer. He plans to do this over a period of seven days, bringing him to Jasmine’s birthday, at which point, Bruno will kill Lemaire and hand himself over to the authorities.
As the days pass, Bruno discovers that Sylvie isn’t on his side and that the police are working to locate him. Lacking concern, Bruno uses his skill as a surgeon to inflict terrible pain on his victim in the hope that it will bring closure to his emotional state. Lemaire suffers broken limbs, shattered bones, lacerations and invasive surgery, but nothing seems to sate Bruno’s desire to see him punished. However, he cannot bring himself to stop, all for the love of his daughter.
7 Days is a film of hopelessness and despair, the failure of justice and the necessity of evil in all aspects of life. It doesn’t flinch from its conviction that some people deserve to suffer and that their actions taint those around them. The end lacks the closure one would expect from this type of film, but does offer a glimmer, albeit faint, of hope.
The film has been adapted by Patrick Senécal from his own novel, telling an intense story in which moments of distraught silence convey as much as the dialogue between Bruno and Sylvie. Daniel Grou, known as Podz, directs with flair, contrasting the cold starkness of the life of the married couple with the grim viciousness of Bruno’s gradually more frenzied interaction with Lemaire.
7 Days is a grim film, though it doesn’t feature, as the DVD cover would have you believe, “some sequences of torture (that) make Saw look like kids stuff.” In fact, the DVD cover, with the number ‘7′ in blood and an image of Jasmine looking as if she’d stepped out of a Japanese horror film effectively does the film a massive injustice.
It’s a well-written exploration of darkness, sanity and revenge.
The disc, sadly, only features a trailer. There is an option for Dolby 5.1 and stereo sound, in French, with English subtitles.
7 Days is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.