Review: 7lives (2011)

Danny Dyer lives seven lives in the aptly named 7LIVES...

Ever wondered what ‘Spider’ from Coronation Street is up to these days? Well, recently, he has played a bit part as a tramp in 7lives, a supposed thriller starring ‘mockney cockney’ actor, Danny Dyer.

7lives is the story of Tom, a married man flirting with the idea of leaving his family life for an exciting new life with a client from the office, played by Kate Ashfield (Shaun of the Dead). On his way home however, Tom is set upon by three humorously stereotypical housing block gang members. Beaten to within an inch of his life, Tom is given the chance to explore his preoccupation with living another life.

First he becomes one of the thugs who attacked him, then a homeless guy, onto a rock star, a boxer and then the doctor responsible for himself. Sound confusing? Well it is, very confusing, and not in the Vanilla Sky / Matrix type confusion which is admittedly clever and leaves you questioning your own intellect, but confusing in the sense that you question the script and the person responsible for it.

The fact that 7lives is advertised as a thriller is also very misleading – there is nothing particularly thrilling about this film at all. The premise is flat and reads like a 14 year-old’s creative writing exercise. The dream lives of ‘rock star’ and ‘boxer’ come across as incredibly boring, as do the other lives Tom must endure. Apparently, Tom deals with his deepest desires and darkest fantasies… I must have missed this. The ‘white light’ direction of the flashbacks and dream sequences also make a mockery of this film.

The cast of the film is pretty good. Danny Dyer does take a lot of criticism but he is a decent leading man in The Football Factory and The Business. He is also in a number of other British films which are more than decent, notably, Goodbye Charlie Bright. Kate Ashfield and Martin Compston also star, both of which have starred in notable British films, Ashfield in Shaun of the Dead and Compston in The Disappearance of Alice Creed. It is a shame that such a respectable cast hasn’t come together for something more substantial and worthwhile.

7lives is not engaging and the idea of living other lives could have been explored so much better. It doesn’t help that the synopsis tells you this film will leave you breathless… such a disappointment. I am guessing that if poor, confused Tom had known the lives he was about to live he would have hoped to have died right there and then on the bridge, rather than endure the tedious nature of his alternative existences. I certainly wish had had died there and then so did not have to endure the tedious nature of 7lives.

Best performance: Danny Dyer as Tom.
Best scene: Tom’s birthday party where his seven lives all intertwine.
Best line: Tom – ‘I wouldn’t live any other life’.
Watch this if you liked: Danny Dyer’s acting in any other film you’ve seen him in.
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