3.5 out of 10
Release Date: 11th March 2011 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Paul Wilkins
Cast: Danny Dyer, Mary Stockley, Kate Ashfield, Martin Compston, Craig Conway, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Jennie Jacques, Tom Goodman-Hill, Michael Elwyn, Anna Skellern, Tamzin Malleson, Charles Mnene, Helen George, Nick Brimble with Nick Nevern and Struan Rodger
Writer: Paul Wilkins
Is the grass greener on the other side? Danny Dyer‘s (JUST FOR THE RECORD) Tom asks himself this question when his demanding mistress (KATE ASHFIELD – SHAUN OF THE DEAD) asks if he wants a more exciting existence? Luckily, he gets to discover what it’s like to live somebody else’s life after getting beaten into a coma by three baggy trousered louts on a short cut through his neighbourhood. Close to death he morphs into the lead thug who, just before the transformation was played by black actor, Charles Mneme, but confusingly, once he’s possessed by Tom, he is played by white actor Theo Barklem-Biggs (KEITH LEMON). Confused? So far so pointless. Within his new body he gets to see what his life as a disenfranchised youth is like, except he still gets to act like Tom. Discovering he’d sooner be Tom than a Chav, he looks for escape and somehow quantum leaps into the body of a tramp (TOM GOODMAN-HILL – FAT SLAGS) and so on. Time rewinds to the beginning of the mugging (I think) and Tom gets to try on somebody else’s shoes. After the tramp he goes onto become a rock-star, a boxer and the doctor that will end up tending to him in hospital. If this sounds like a British version of Quantum Leap with Danny Dyer as a cockney Sam Beckett. It’s not. Confusingly, events are interlaced with flashbacks to Tom’s real life and we never really get to understand the dynamics of his journey. How is it he gets to step into these different lives on his way to the next world? These questions wouldn’t seem important if even one of the episodes were remotely interesting. The rock-star conceit is confused with Martin Compston (GHOSTED) suffering Dad related (STRUAN RODGER – KILL LIST) conflicts and a confusing sexual encounter with a gang-raped groupie (JENNIE JACQUES – TRUTH OR DARE). The tramp interlude is badly played and the script is garbled as a tramp is virtually kidnapped by a woman in mourning for a long lost husband. Forced into a roll-playing scenario, this is the longest and most incomprehensible stretch of 7Lives. This part comes along fairly early, so if you can battle your way through it the film does improve, slightly.
The central problem is there is little insight into the mechanics or dynamics both on a storytelling level and as a device. Seemingly, according to the writers of 7Lives, on nearing death, a person can float and possess another person’s mind. But this raises unanswerable questions? How long does this period last for? Is it a parallel universe? Does the possessed person know he’s been possessed? Is it all a dream? None of this is resolvable. Characters from earlier story lines pop up with no explanation or reason. Is it aiming to be a UK equivalent of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive for the Kidulthood crowd? You tell me. It certainly doesn’t work. It would have made more sense if Danny Dyer had played all the characters (Sam Beckett style!) that his Tom travels through. The casting of other actors, even three at one point for one person, is too unsettling. It’s like watching a string of unconnected and ultimately uninvolving short stories. Good actors like Martin Compston, Craig Conway (DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND) and Nick Nevern (GBH) are thoroughly wasted. I just remembered Nick Nevern plays a policeman who pops up in a few of the parallel worlds called Detective Echo. Oh-oh.
The ambiguous telling of this jigsaw (with lots of missing pieces) leaves the viewer clueless. It’s not as if you can apply you’re own theories to what is happening as none of them could ever work. It’s not good enough to even want to analyse. The acting is OK but no-one stands out. Danny Dyer is better than he’s been for a long time, but he’s done a grave disservice by a very dull, confusing and non-sensical story. Sadly, this potentially interesting slant on the “dying experience” tract lead by Jacob’s Ladder is D.O.A.
3.5 out of 10 – Originality stifles this largely dull experiment. 7Lives is largely incomprehensible and unforgivably dull. Trying something different doesn’t always pay off. High marks for originality but all those points are deducted when stacked versus a terrible script and a hard battle not to switch the DVD player off. Certainly made me wonder what else I could have been watching!
CHECK OUT JOE PESCI’s mischeivous review!!!! Below!
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?
- Danny Dyer: Vendetta 2, Eastenders (TV), The Rapture (2015), Assassin (2015), Blood Shot, The Hooligan Factory, Vendetta, Run For Your Wife, Freerunner, Deviation, The Age Of Heroes, Basement, Pimp, The Last Seven, Dead Cert, Devil’s Playground, Just For The Record, Dead Man Running, Jack Said, Doghouse, City Rats, Outlaw, Adulthood, Straightheads, Severance, The Business, The Football Factory, Wasp (short), Borstal Boy, Mean Machine, Goodbye Charlie Bright, The Trench, Human Traffic
- Mary Stockley: The Woman In Black, Pierrepoint
- Kate Ashfield: Still, Nymphonmaniac, Byzantium, When The Lights Went Out, Shaun Of The Dead, Late Night Shopping, The Low Down, Pure, Guest House Paradiso, The War Zone
- Martin Compston: Manor Hunt Ball, Scottish Mussel, Line of Duty (TV), Filth, The Wee Man, When The Lights Went Out, Pimp, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Four, Ghosted, Piggy, The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, Doomsday, The Damned Utd, True North, Tickets, Sweet Sixteen
- Craig Conway: The 4th Reich, Blood Shot, Scintilla, Detective Harrigan, The Tournament, Devil’s Playground, Four, Airborne (2012), Doomsday
- Theo Barklem-Biggs: Kingsman – The Secret Service, Borrowed Time, Hammer of the Gods, The Man Inside (2012), The Age Of Heroes, The Inbetweeners Movie, Keith Lemon
- Jennie Jacques: Shank, Demons Never Die, Cherry Tree Lane, Truth Or Dare
- Tom Goodman-Hill: Residue, The Imitation Game, Fat Slags, Festival
- Anna Skellern: Gambit, W/E, A Night In The Woods, The Descent 2
- Tamzin Malleson: Midsomer Murders (TV), Bodies (TV), Teachers (TV), Dangerfield (TV)
- Charles Mneme: Honeytrap, The Knife That Killed Me, Chromophobia
- Nick Brimble: Soulmate, Emmerdale (TV), A Knight’s Tale, The Baby Juice Express, Fortress 2, Loch Ness, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Frankenstein Unbound, Sweeney!
- Nick Nevern: Sexy Bizness, Manor Hunt Ball, Spring, White Collar Hooligan 3 – Meet The Firm, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, The Hooligan Factory, Vendetta, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall of The Essex Boys, GBH, The Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan, Victim,The Sweeney Movie Outpost 2, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Turnout, Terry
- Struan Rodger: Kill List, The Madness Of King George III, The Innocent Sleep, Diamond Skulls