Saturday, July 1, 2017

Now on Netflix: 7 Anos (2016)

7 Anos (2016) - Directed by Roger Gual; Written by Jose Cabeza, Cristian Conti, Julia Fontana, Roger Gual; Starring Juana Acosta, Alex Brendemuhl, Paco Leon, Manuel Moron, Juan Pablo Raba.

By Kenny Howell

Four business owners try to decide who will take the blame for financial crimes and spend seven years in prison in this excellent Spanish drama.

7 Anos takes place entirely in a meeting room of a lucrative company as the four owners, Vera, Marcel, Luis and Carlos call in a mediator to help them decide who will take the fall for their crimes. The company has used an illegal device to move some money to Switzerland so they don't have to pay the taxes on it, and the tax service is closing in on them. An agent is on his way to analyze their data, so the group are trying to decide who will make a transfer to make it look like they were the only one that did the crime. They call in a mediator to help them figure out who would be the best person to do this.

The person who gets chosen will spend seven years in prison, so the group way the many factors that come along with it. Luis (Paco Leon) is a little more emotionally fragile, but his idea is what made them a bunch of money. Vera (Juana Acosta) is a woman, and the Spanish prison system is not set up to accommodate women, who are often thrown into men's prisons in separate areas. Marcel (Alex Brendemuhl) is the guy that runs everything, and Carlos (Juan Pablo Raba) is the man that maintains the relationships for the company that keeps the business flowing.

It's incredibly hard to maintain a narrative in a small space, but Director Roger Gual does it masterfully here. There have been some bad ones over the years, but the ones that do, like 12 Angry Men, are a genre within itself. 7 Anos doesn't rely on suspense really to amp up the stakes and make you forget that you are still in this one meeting room, it uses the gradual breaking down of each character as they pick apart just how worthwhile they are until all their dirty laundry is exposed and their partnership is wrecked. The leads are excellent at bringing that along, and make this one of those small gems you come across on Netflix.

7 Anos is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: ***1/2

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