Unit 7 was filmed in the 120 square meters of floor 13 at the Amsterdam Bijlmer prison. A growing percentage of the Dutch prisoners suffer from severe psychiatric problems. When local teams... See full summary »

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Unit 7 was filmed in the 120 square meters of floor 13 at the Amsterdam Bijlmer prison. A growing percentage of the Dutch prisoners suffer from severe psychiatric problems. When local teams cannot deal with their extreme behavior, they are sent to Unit 7. In a setting of maximum security and care, Unit 7 has six weeks within which it must resolve the crisis. Unit 7 is the place of last resort, if treatment fails, there is no alternative. In an impressive manner, the documentary portrays how both staff members and patients in this depressing location are inextricably bound to each other. A psychological battle unfurls from which no one comes out unscathed. Written by Anonymous

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gritty, worthwhile
1 September 2015 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

The minute I looked at this, I thought instantly of _The Seven-Ups_, about cleaning up New York. I was a bit wrong, but not too much; the film leans a bit much on possibly the stupidest film ever made, Goodfellas, but in its own way Grupo7 is intense and believable--even has probably some good writing, as well as some good performances.

The director was clearly pretty uncompromising, and on the whole you have to respect that. It made me think of how American Hustle ripped off Layer Cake and made the bad guys the good guys; here, the good guys are the bad guys, but Grupo7 combines the two other movies in a way and indicates--maybe--a slight bit more ambiguity (and Grupo7 is not nearly as flabby as either of those two aforementioned, or Goodfellas). Missing almost entirely from the film is any sense of the real ravages of street drugs; yes we get the poverty and desperation and the way too obvious scenes of the lead character's need for insulin, but still there's a bit of moral vacuity here. That could have been connected to the Seville expo in '92 (I saw the people and places razed by the Barcelona Olympics), but that was only done through sort of stock footage--kind of 7-Ups on that one.

Still, you've got to like a taut film with good performances and great editing. It could have made greater points and done more, but by doing less it's possible the film did more, and you have to like that. I won't watch it 10 times, but I'd definitely watch it again.


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