7 Days (Les Sept jours du talion)

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7 Days (Les Sept jours du talion)

Release Date: Out Now
Director: Daniel Grou
Starring: Rémy Girard, Claude Legault
Cinematographer: Bernard Couture
Studio/Run Time: Sundance Selects (Video-on-Demand), 105 min.

Half-baked Haneke

The Québécois film 7 Days prods the same nerves that contemporary Gallic guignols have been working since Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible, but it should have prodded more. The film begins with an unforgivable crime—the rape and murder of a schoolgirl by a convicted sex offender. Her father, a wealthy surgeon (Claude Legault), chains the alleged killer in a secluded dungeon, savoring his captive’s (Rémy Girard) slow torture. As the film gingerly shifts the balance between good and evil, it takes on the tone of a Michael Haneke-directed CSI episode—but it’s half-baked, at best. Despite Girard’s cagey performance and a zinger of a third-act twist, the dramatic arc is too low-key, and the moral debate never extends beyond the immediate situation. It’s ineffective exploitation and social critique—though if you swapped out the leads for Harrison Ford and Paul Giamatti, it’d probably mess a lot of people up.