Friday, November 30, 2012

Seven Days In Utopia (2011)

**This review contains spoilers**

I can’t believe it. I actually liked a Lucas Black film. Usually, I can’t stand Black, because he is a terrible actor most of the time, but he really surprised me. This wasn’t an Oscar worthy performance from Black, but he was pretty solid here, and having Robert Duvall at a your side doesn’t hurt. Seven Days In Utopia does feature some good drama, and the acting in this film is solid.

Seven Days In Utopia is too sappy at times, but I still enjoyed the story. Luke (Black) is an and upcoming pro golfer with tons of potential. He has a major meltdown on the course one day, and the relationship with his overbearing and pushy father begins to fall apart. Luke had to clear his mind and regain his confidence, so he decided to take a seven day break in the quiet little town of Utopia, Texas. Black is mentored by Johnny (Duvall), and the wise old man helps Luke get back on his feet.

Seven Days In Utopia can feel boring at times, but I wanted to root for Luke. I wanted him to regain his confidence, and I enjoyed the internal struggle he endured. Luke was put to the test during a unique series of training sessions, and he had to adjust to a new lifestyle.

Also, Seven Days In Utopia does feature some clever editing. They show the struggles Luke has with his father throughout his life in a series of flashbacks. Luke’s dad pushed him hard. He wanted him to be the best, but Luke’s dad could be very strict and controlling. Then, the storyline would return to the present, and the audience is able to see Luke’s struggles, as he tries to find himself. This combination of footage was a nice touch, and I wanted to feel for Black’s character, because you actually get to see what he went through as a kid and young adult.

I enjoyed Utopia, but the very end of the film pissed me off. At the very end of the film, Luke returns from Utopia. He forgives his father, and Luke enters another big tournament. Luke goes head to head with one of the best pros in the sport, and the tension builds, as the two golfers approach the final hole. Luke is about take the swing that could provide the moment of redemption the audience has been waiting for, but instead we hear a narration from Robert Duvall? Oh, and they don’t even show the potential big moment. Instead, a message pops up on the screen, and the audience is told to go to That’s right. If you want to know what really happened, you have to go to the website (or read the book first). Well, I already sat through the movie, and I was curious, so I watched the video.

Man was I disappointed. They show a video that’s over seven minutes, and in this video, they show the author of Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days At The Links Of Utopia (the film is based on this book). The author reads from the book, and he tries to convince the audience to become more involved in Utopia. He wants you to feel the full experience, and he thinks Utopia (the film and the book) should become apart of your life. Umm, yeah, I had to call bullshit on this entire video.

This was just a way to plug the author’s book, and they actually post the link to an online store, where you can buy Utopia merchandise (the book, golf balls, caps, etc.). I took this is a slap in the face, and I can’t believe they got away with this. Find another way to plug the book and other Utopia merchandise. They actually build some nice suspense towards the end, but they ruined everything with the “go to the website and see how it ends!” stuff. They just wanted to sell some more books and other pieces of merchandise, but they tried to pass it off as an “experience.” Unbelievable.

Final Rating: 6/10

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