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Far from exhilarating visuals and characters drawn in the broadest of strokes compound the problem of a by-the-numbers narrative.

A young man trying to make money for his family gets caught up in Sao Paulo's forced labour market in 7 Prisoners, a film that touches on important social issues but fails to make a compelling narrative out of it.

Though it's easy to relate to the conflict brewing up inside the lead character - should he play along and rise in the ranks or rebel and risk not only his life but that of his family as well? - similar ground has been tread before and much better at that, as 7 Prisoners struggles mightily to bring something new or revelatory to the table.

If the characters had been given some depth, this might not have been a problem, but the script doesn't give you any clues at all why both the protagonist and the main antagonist make the choices they do, let alone the supporting cast, who are drawn in the broadest of strokes.

Add to this a visual style that is perfunctory rather than exhilarating and you're left with a picture that is far too skimpy on emotion, narrative momentum or general excitement to draw you in, up to and including the roundly disappointing denouement.

release: 2021

director: Alexandro Moratto

starring: Christian Malheiros, Rodrigo Santoro, Lucas Oranmian, Vitor Julian


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