Film Review – 7 Prisoners (2021)

Title – 7 Prisoners (2021) 

Director – Alexandre Moratto (Socrates) 

Cast – Christian Malheiros, Rodrigo Santoro

Plot – Moving from rural farmlands into the heart and soul of Brazil São Paulo, 18 year old Mateus (Malheiros) and a group of other small town teenagers take up a job in a scrap yard run by Luca (Santoro) but quickly find themselves victims of human trafficking and exploitative labor. 

“Welcome to the big city, boys” 

Review by Eddie on 09/03/2022

A Brazilian Netflix production directed by up and coming director Alexandre Moratto that recently found some award love at the recent Venice film festival winning for Best Foreign Language Film and being a contender in the Audience Award, 7 Prisoners is a thriller with a social conscience yet while well made and intentioned, there’s something holding Moratto’s film back from being something more as it quickly moves across its 90 minute runtime. 

Set in the unforgiving landscape of the notorious Brazilian city of São Paulo, Moratto uses his feature to explore the often unspoken about modern day practice’s of exploitative labor and human trafficking for the purposes of seemingly legitimate business purposes as we follow wide eyed and savvy 18 year old farm boy Mateus into the world of the scheming and ruthless Luca whose scrapyard business thrives off the blood, sweat and tears of its imprisoned workforce. 

Played with an intensity he hasn’t often tapped into before, Luca is bought to life by a detestable and feisty Rodrigo Santoro who plays well with Christian Malherios who seems destined for big things based off this effort but the two actors get bogged down in a narrative that often feels repetitive and bogged down in a story that at first appears set to provide something special and far reaching only to stay confined within itself much like its core group that are held back by their unfortunate circumstances. 

Feeling almost as if its cut from the same cloth of City of God, a king amongst films of the nation, 7 Prisoners threatens to be on the same ball park as that classic crime tale but these threatening instances are only ever fleeting at best and as the films runtime draws on and narrative stagnates with Luca and Mateus’s back and forwards relationship taking place at its core, 7 Prisoners is unable to keep the fire burning from its bright start instead becoming just another Netflix film that is absolutely watchable, but far from overly memorable. 

It is however nice to see Netflix continue to support and provide options of foreign produce for viewers across the globe with the way in which content like this is harder to find in cinemas, its fantastic to see a continued option for viewers to be able to watch such films as 7 Prisoners in the comfort of their own homes as Hollywood is scared off from supporting such small-scale offerings. 

Final Say –    

7 Prisoners never outstays its welcome and starts off with a gripping intensity but as the runtime wears on and the story stagnates, Alexandre Moratto’s film becomes a decently watchable feature that ends up far from being a must-see. 

3 copper wire strips out of 5 

3 responses to “Film Review – 7 Prisoners (2021)

  1. I had a similar experience with the movie, the longer it goes the farther away it gets from a must see. Still, I would agree with all the positive things you said and I hope they keep supporting movies like this on Netflix.

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