September 16th, 2011

Movie Review - Seven Days in Utopia

Seven Days in Utopia

Starring: Lucas Black, Robert Duvall, Deborah Ann Woll, Joseph Lyle Taylor, Brian Gerahty, and more.

Directed by: Matthew Dean Russell Writing Credits: David Cook,  Rob Levine, Matthew Dean Russell, Sanda Thrift Based on the Book by: David Cook Original Music by: Klaus Badelt and Christopher Carmichael

Premise:
After an emotional blow out an up and comer golfer makes a right turn
at an intersection only to find himself in the town of Utopia and
meeting the one man who might set him on the right path for his game and
his life.

Review: When I first read the blurb
on this film, it reminded me of Doc Hollywood (a long time favorite for
me and my husband). So finding myself without hubby for movie night, I
took a plunge and checked it out (hubby had no interest so it was open
season!).

Actually filmed mostly out at Utopia, Texas
there are some truly nice visuals of Texas flat lands and ranch homes.
While golf is a major part of the story, you don't have to be into the
sport to watch the film, any bits not known by the audience explained
here and there.

There are no major surprises in the
film. Troubled man gets taken under the wing of an older mentor and
shown a new way of seeing things. Troubled man comes to certain
realizations and improves inside and out. What was actually innovative,
in my opinion, were the ways the lessons were taught.  Every time Lucas
thought he'd figured out how Johnny was going to teach him some new
lesson about golf or life, it was never exactly as he expected. Some
were almost brilliant.

You'll find several familiar faces amongst the cast.
Lucas Black did pretty well, especially at the very end. Robert Duvall,
on the other hand, seemed a little lacking throughout - though there was
one scene where he says absolutely nothing yet spoke volumes. Several
of the side characters brought a lot of life and warmth to the film.
Others were the normal cookie cutter types you usually expect, to add
adversarial problems for the protagonist, though they did try to give
them a little more depth than typical and even some changes.

Another
nice thing were the flashes and flashbacks to what brought Luke Chisolm
to the bad place he was at in the first place. For most of his years
he'd been living the life forced upon him, not one he chose for himself.
In many ways, he's not lived at all.

The method they
chose to use at the ending, I can't say did them any favors. It's an
open ending, without letting you know the end result, which to me was a
given, so no biggie. But worse, they then tantalize you with a website
to get the final scoop - www.didhemaketheputt.com 
A nice site, with a couple of nice videos by the author, David Cook,
and the answer to the question. But at the theater, seeing the website
on the screen left a bad taste in my mouth. It felt gimmicky.  Worse,
the point about letting God into your life wasn't really reached in the
film in my mind. Felt tacked on. Yes, they showed Lucas how to live and
be open to experiences, but the connection to faith, to God, felt like a
stretch.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: N/A)