7 Minutes (2016) Poster

(2016)

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9/10
A social drama without sanctimonious rhetoric
guy-bellinger10 November 2017
Well, to say the least, "il bel uomo" Michele Placido ("Till Marriage Do Us Part, "Marcia trionfale", "Three Brothers"...), has become along with time a heck of a director ("Romanzo Criminale", to name but one example). This time, with "7 minuti", Placido is back in business in a big way. Not only is the subject he has chosen food for thought but the Italian director manages to make the potentially dry subject a great show, full of tensions and suspense. All this from a simple but very effective starting point: the buyers of a textile factory promise no layoffs on the only condition that the she-workers give up seven minutes of their fifteen minute break. Following this offer, eleven of the staff representatives, including their spokesperson (Ottavia Piccolo), gather for the vote and... the heated discussions preceding it. Socially relevant (there are countless cases where workers have to face such dilemmas) honest (naive optimism is not on the agenda while racism, hatred and jealousy are rife; all the points of view are exposed and debated) and committed (employment blackmail is harshly denounced), Placido's last opus is also a model of construction (an "in camera" drama in the line of "Twelve Angry Men", complete with clashes pitting the ones against the others and final suspense) and of actress direction (all the performers, young, mature or old ARE sensational). All in all, this film is an exploit in its ability to talk straight and to entertain at the same time. Agreed, Michele Placido is not the only one in this category (Martin Ritt's "Norma Rae" is another example of such a talent) but he is one of the few artists capable of such achievements.
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