Seven Times Lucky (2004) Poster

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Canadian Noir
Bill1 February 2004
Film noir Canadian style shot on a shoestring budget. Kevin Pollak in a rare lead role. Some interesting twists and turns. Lies and deception. Happy ending. It is refreshing to have the film set at Christmas, and creates opportunities for delightful contrasts with low-lifes and Christmas music.

I love the genre and I liked the movie. Not great by any means. But it moved along nicely and had enough subtleties and nuances that it felt fresh and not simply derivative. Oh, and Liane Balaban is fetching without working too hard at it.
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Wonderful, layered con flick
subliminalelf31 January 2004
Kevin Pollack is the best he's ever been as a down on his luck grifter, who gets involved in a scheme to steal some blackmarket Rolexes... which is just the start of dozens of twists and reversals in this wonderfully textured con game. The film has a lot of heart underneath all the deceptions. I can't say it's anything new in the genre, but that shouldn't matter too much. It's skillfully written and directed, with some beautiful, moody photography. If you're into noirish, grifter pieces, then this should be right up your alley.
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Simply terrific!
inframan25 November 2005
What's with the ratings system on IMDb? You look at the vote tally & it's 6.6 median & 7+ average but they mark it 5.4 on the movie site. What = only a few key players votes count?? Anyway this movie blows anything done by Hollywood (or "indie") hacks in about 30 or 40 years. Outsmarts Mamet at his guessing games. Outpaces Soderbergh at his capering best. Outstyles the Coens by a couple galaxies. And hey, the sets don't have that cookie cutter Metropolitan Home look the Hollywood & indie flicks all subscribe to.

The plot is wonderful, the acting by everyone is phenomenal. This movie will keep you guessing (& catching you breath) right up to & including the last frame.

Simply terrific! 10 for 10
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Noir is dead; long live neo-noir
lastliberal8 April 2007
Film Noir has not existed since the sixties, but filmmakers are incorporating the aspects of the genre into new films. Examples include Fargo, Se7en, L.A. Confidential, Pulp Fiction, The Usual Suspects, Memento, Reservoir Dogs, and Sin City.

Canadian Gary Yates has written and directed a film that reminds us of the old days with the low lights and hard criminals, but in a comedy of cons conning cons. It may take a scorecard to figure out who is conning who, but viewers will be thrilled with the ending.

Kevin Pollack (The Usual Suspects) and Liane Balaban lead this quirky and enjoyable film with a great supporting cast that will keep you guessing.
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Seven Times Too Many?
kergillian28 March 2005
One word sums this film up: average. It's a very average film, with nothing special about it whatsoever. The inherent problem in this film: too many twists and turns. Every second scene has a new twist, and there are so many that the film loses its sense of purpose. Yates tries to be so clever with all of the plot twists and turns, but there are so many red herrings and cons within cons that it's just overwhelming - and falls beyond the zone of believability. This film is trying too hard to be a classic noir, and the director can't decide whether he wants to be John Huston or Guy Ritchie. The only problem is, his script is nowhere near as sharp as the Maltese Falcon, his visuals nowhere near as crisp and noir as Huston, and he doesn't have any of the humour of Ritchie.

And Pollack is no Bogart, Balaban no Bacall or Mary Astor. And the characterization is faulty - aside from Pollack's character (Harlan Jr.), the other characters simply don't stay true to form - they change throughout the film in ways that aren't just unexpected, but uncharacteristic. As well, Pollack simply isn't believable as the kind of character he's playing. His character is too genuine, too naive - and the way he ends the film (no, I won't spoil it) is a stretch. Yates is borrowing more than a little bit from Miller's Crossing, but Pollack is no Gaberiel Byrne - and he's also far from a Bogart or Fred MacMurray.

As well, the middle sags horribly. From the frenzied pace of the beginning to the frenetic pace of the end, we have this slow and dreary interlude with a 'romantic' aspect that perhaps wants to be a red herring, but just feels false, shallow and out of place.

As far as Canadian film goes, however - at least non-Quebecois Canadian film - this is a pretty solid one. Which doesn't say too much about Canadian film. We certainly have a lot to learn about film-making, but there are always moments where I feel that we're heading in the right direction. Not the best Canadian film I've seen, but nowhere near the worst, its flaws aren't serious enough to make you want to stop watching.

In the end, this film tries very hard and brings forth some interesting and quirky characters, but falls short of its potential.Yates has something interesting going here, and he shows bright promise, but he needs to tighten up his script and gain a better understanding of film - especially film noir - before he can near that potential. Yates will get better, but he needs to take a step back and examine himself and his work first. 6/10.
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A modern darkly comic film noir
stupid_pebble16 February 2005
This is the story of Harlan, an aging small-time grifter, a relic of a bygone age who dreams of making it big. He is encouraged by his partner Fiona, who is young beautiful and treacherous, a classic femme fatale.

The story could be taking place anywhere or at anytime, there are no geographical or temporal references. It's as if these cheap crooks exist in their own decrepit universe.

The tale has more double-crosses and twists than I could keep track of. However it never looses you and keeps you engrossed until the end. What's best about this film is the acting from a fine ensemble cast and the wonderful black comedy that lies behind the story.

Go see it - you won't be disappointed.
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complicated twisty story
SnoopyStyle30 May 2015
Harlan Junior (Kevin Pollak) loses big on the horses. He runs petty cons with Fiona (Liane Balaban). Their cohort Sonny (Jonas Chernick) owes Mr. Five Wounds $100k and he needs to repay it in 2 days on Christmas Eve. Sonny comes to Harlan with a scheme to buy watches for $150k. Harlan's fence Eddie won't lend him the money so he goes to Mr. Five Wounds.

This Canadian production tries to be a hard-boiled noir crime drama but it's not quite stylish enough. Then there is complicated twisty story of backstabbing double-crosses. At a certain point, the movie loses cohesion and falls apart. Pollak and Balaban are good but they can't maintain any intensity.
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Way out of it's league ...........
merklekranz20 March 2010
David Mamet's "House of Games" is probably the definitive "switcheroo" movie. It is highly entertaining, and highly recommended. "7 Times Lucky" is a failed attempt to create interest in a similar con game. Unfortunately the only con game here is the one being played on the audience. An unbelievably contrived script, and some truly uninspired acting, sinks this wannabe noir. There is zero character development, so who cares if in the first few minutes a guy gets hung upside down and has his toe cut off? Annoying flashbacks only add to the confusion, and all of this nonsense is wrapped in a Christmas theme no less. An almost incoherent, train wreck of a film. - MERK
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Far short of noir
Craig Whyel25 November 2005
I didn't get it and I paid real close attention.

I think they were going for more of a feel than an actual outcomes based production vis a vis a storyline that one can grasp.

The intentional distortion of the time era via props and costuming further served to undo the film.

Kevin Pollack is totally and completely wasted. His alternating between glibness and melodrama took things down even further as did the chronic overcast skies of Winnipeg. He even looked, very briefly, like Groucho Marx in You Bet Your Life.

It's not worth the time, and I say that feeling badly because I sensed that they were really shooting for something specially and came up way short.
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A movie wherein the scamming never stops - not bad!
GrunterGrimm31 January 2006
This movie gives itself away as Canadian-made long before the suitcase of $CDN 100's is shown - it's low-budget, tight, low-key, relatively nonviolent, and features at least one name Hollywood actor or actress (artsy, or B-list) to give it some box-office appeal. Hence the movie features Kevin Pollack, a short, nebbishy character actor, who shows he's capable of carrying a certain type of flick by himself, in this case as an intelligent, hard-boiled grifter who doesn't let his emotions get in the way of doing business. Does having an aboriginal as a heavyweight villain make a movie distinctly Canadian? I'm not sure, but it's a refreshing change from post-Soviet Russian gangsters.

In this movie each scam sets up another with various irresistible hockable valuables turning up to sweeten the pot and lure the crooked types involved. It all begins with a "sure bet" on the horses, and as the movie's characters are introduced at a goodly pace, we begin to wonder about which character is setting up which. Or are they scamming? The movie also does well with the subtleties and then the revelations about the various partnership combinations. Was it love - or just a scam?
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Kelly Cather30 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I rented this film because there was a lot of buzz about it a few years back. It was shot in my hometown (Winnipeg, Canada).

Unfortunately, the makers of this film clearly ripped off the main characters and most of the plot points from the classic French caper "Bob le flambeur". "Bob le flambeur" is a classic and a much better film. The producers should be making royalty payments to the Jean-Pierre Melville estate.

"Seven Times Lucky" is a mediocre film, and has some obvious weaknesses, mainly being a miscast lead Kevin Pollack. I cannot see Pollack in a million years in a relationship with the twenty-three years younger Liane Balaban. Balaban has a solid performance in this film, but I can not recommend renting it.
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