27 may. 2014

My Review: Septimo (6/10)

"I'm your neighbor from the seventh floor. My children were coming down the stairs, and I can't find them, I don't know where they are."

Septimo is an Argentinean thriller directed by Patxi Amezcua (25 Carat) starring Ricardo Darin and Belen Rueda. Despite the interesting premise and a promising trailer, I was disappointed with the final result. The only reason I'm giving this a passing grade is because of Ricardo Darin's performance. He is one of the greatest actors from Argentina, and if you haven't seen a film from him I highly recommend The Secret in their Eyes. He is a solid performer and in this weak script he does his best to keep the audience engaged with his character. The only reason I cared for the suspense in Septimo was thanks to his character. I was disappointed with the rest of the cast, especially the child actors who are only on screen to look cute. For the first half of the film I was having a decent time and enjoying the thrilling story, but the resolution and twists in the final 20 minutes or so are very unsatisfying and far fetched. It ruined my entire perception of the film, but I'm still going to slightly recommend it thanks to Darin who always delivers. This is just another example of wasted potential and not knowing how to resolve a pretty decent suspense story. The more you think of the film, the more flaws you will find.

The original screenplay was co-written by Amezcua and Alejo Flah, centering on Sebastian (Ricardo Darin), a lawyer who is currently working on an important case for his firm. Before heading to the office he stops by his ex-wife's (Belen Rueda) apartment to take his two children to school. Delia mentions that she wants to take the kids to live with her in Spain, but he doesn't want them to be so far away. Since the kids live in the seventh floor they ask their father if they can race him down the stairs while he takes the elevator. This is a game they usually play together, but this time the kids never make it downstairs. At first Sebastian thinks the kids are hiding, but they never show up and the building's doorman (Luis Ziembrowski) says that no one came in or out of the building. Sebastian's worst nightmare comes true when he goes up the stairs and doesn't find any evidence of his children's whereabouts. He begins questioning each one of his neighbors, while the doorman explains the situation to a deputy who lives in the third floor. The deputy (Osvaldo Santoro) tells Sebastian that he should remain calm, that they are probably dealing with a kidnapping, but that the police was already investigating the case. Sebastian finally explains the situation to Delia and as time passes the more desperate they become questioning everyone close to them.

The first half of the film managed to keep me interested in the story despite not much character development. The suspense of what had happened to the children was what kept me engaged, but once we got the resolutions and twists it was hard to feel satisfied. Ricardo Darin has played some great roles in films like 9 Queens, The Secret in Their Eyes, and A Chinese Tale, but in The 7th Floor there isn't much he can do. This will probably be one of his most forgettable roles, but he still gives a convincing dramatic performance of a desperate father trying to figure out what happened to his children. He stops at nothing to discover the truth, but unfortunately the truth about this film is full of flaws. The positives about Septimo are Darin's lead performance and the beautiful cinematography which captures some nice views of the city of Buenos Aires. The rest of the film is forgettable. 


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