Eye For Film >> Movies >> Seven Times Lucky (2004) Film Review
Seven Times Lucky
Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown
Small time crook Harlan (Kevin Pollak) has just collected $10,000 on behalf of mobster Mr Five Wounds (Gordon Tootoosis). This is good and a restful Christmas beckons. But Harlan's also just put the money on the nose of a dead-cert racing tip that, true to form, came in second. This is bad and a silent night in an unmarked grave may well be beckoning.
Fortunately, Harlan's erstwhile partners-in-crime Fiona (Liana Balaban) - not quite trustworthy and young enough to be his daughter - and Sonny (Jonas Cherniak) - not too smart, though appearances can be deceptive - have a solution in the form of a dozen hot Rolexes needing fenced. Of course, if things were that simple we wouldn't have much of a movie and, sure enough, soon everyone is double and triple crossing each other like it's going out of fashion...
And perhaps it is, as Gary Yates's Canadian indie unfolds with a strong sense of deja-vu
It begins with the title itself: isn't Seven Times Lucky just too reminiscent of Hard Eight, Nine Queens and Ocean's Eleven? Fine to invoke them if you can equal, or surpass them, but not a good idea if you can't.
As it is, P. T. Anderson's debut is perhaps the closest point of comparison. But where it works as a character driven drama, the comparable idea here - Harlan is haunted by the memory of seeing his father gunned down in front of him - is underdeveloped and comes across as something that's been included because the screenwriting manual says so.
Likewise, while the hardboiled dialogue and anachronisms - half a 1940s world of boxing gyms, fedoras and guys named Dutch and half present day communication aids with cell phones and voicemail - give the requisite degrees of coolness and style - or what increasingly pass for such in these attention deficit times - they also make it difficult to get into the film, that sense of it's-only-a-movie-ness soon emerging to prevent you from really caring about the characters and - worse - expecting the unexpected.
Not bad by any means - Pollak is always worth watching, while Balaban proves eerily reminiscent of both Natalie Portman and Hilary Swank at times, surely auguring well for her future - just not as good as you feel it could, or should, be.
So, is smart becoming the new dumb?Reviewed on: 10 Feb 2005