United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.
Which luckily is wholly lived up to in 'Seven Days in May'. If the subject doesn't appeal to you, the film may not be to your taste. If it does appeal and you like the genre, it is very likely to be the opposite. It is not one of Frankenheimer's best (quite) and not one of his very best collaborations with Lancaster (do prefer personally 'The Train' and 'Birdman of Alcatraz'). 'Seven Days in May' is still a very, very good film in my opinion, with many brilliant assets.
It does meander in pace in the third act, where it gets too talk-heavy, and gets a little heavy handed at times.
There is so much to love in 'Seven Days in May' otherwise though. It looks great, with the very atmospheric cinematography being especially good. Frankenheimer's direction is taut and accomplished, if not as visually innovative as a couple of his other films. He makes great use of the setting which has a sense of foreboding throughout, while the editing is pretty amazing. Jerry Goldsmith's, a personal favourite for years when it comes to film composers, music score is not too over-scored or bombastic while having great presence and ominous atmosphere.
Although the script has a lot of talk, with reliance on monologues, it is intelligent and thought-provoking talk that has a good deal of intrigue. Lancaster and Fredric March's big scene is exceptionally well written. The story did engage me and has tension, thanks to the chilling omnipresence of the surveillance mechanics, and didn't strike me as hard to follow. Some of the middle act is outlandish but in an entertaining way rather than a lacking in cohesion one. The film starts off incredibly well, with a stark documentary-like style to the filming
Found the characters to be well written and interesting, though Ava Gardner's was a bit too thin for my liking. The best thing about 'Seven Days in May' though is the acting which is nothing short of brilliant, even Gardner brings all she's got in a tricky part to make interesting considering the thin writing of it. Two of the trickier roles are for Kirk Douglas, which is reaction-heavy and not with a massive amount of talk, and Edmund O'Brien in a part that is so easy to play too broadly. Douglas tells so much with his eyes and his expressions and O'Brien enjoys himself hugely and makes his role a lot more interesting than it really is. Lancaster brings his usual intensity and nuance and March gives one of his best late-career performances.
In summary, very good even if not everything works. 7.5/10
- Aug 23, 2020