Boy 7 is a Dutch movie from 2015 directed by Lourens Blok. The film is based on the eponymous book by Mirjam Mous (nl), but is not a literal adaptation of it.

The story is set in a future version of the Netherlands, which have turned into a police state. The story is told in the form of flashbacks.

The main roles are played by Matthijs van deSande Bakhuyzen, Ella-June Henrard and Tygo Gernandt.

Above all, one genre is successful in Germany: the comedy. Films by Til Schweiger, Matthias Schweighöfer, Fack ju Göhte – so what. But thriller, action, horror, fantasy? Of these genres, far too little is shot in Germany, and thus lacks the middle class, which could and should bind the audience to German cinema. Now Boy 7, a sci-fi thriller, comes to the cinemas. His director Özgür Yildirim has already made a gangster film (Chiko) and a musician biopic (Blutsbrüdaz) and is quite offensive with the desire to strengthen the genre cinema. Sympathetic, yes. But what’s the use, if Boy 7 then confirms the prejudices against German thriller attempts rather than degrades?

 

The film, which was mostly produced in Yildirim’s hometown Hamburg, starts promisingly. Adolescent Sam (David Kross) wakes up on the subway train tracks, with no reminder of who he is or how he got here. In shaky, delirious images, the viewer sees what Sam sees. The subjective camera lets him feel Sam’s disorientation, its stumbling, stumbling, groaning. At the subway station, a police officer wants to arrest Sam, but to his own surprise, he realizes that he is pretty good at melee combat. He escapes. What follows is no longer filmed in the first person, the camera gives the viewer a better overview of the action. With a great deal of goodwill required to gently ignore the crater-sized logic holes of history.

By a very great coincidence, Sam discovers a diary that obviously stems from himself and allows conclusions about his past. By even more chance, he meets Lara (Emilia Schütte), who is also as ignorant as himself. Together they study the book and try to reconstruct what has happened to them. As it seems, both inmates of the futuristic “Cooperative X”, a mix of elite boarding school and reformatory, were to be rehabilitated in the criminalized youth. However, inmates repeatedly die under mysterious circumstances or collapse with nosebleeds. Sam and Lara, who are called Boy 7 and Girl 8 respectively, discover a conspiracy that puts them in mortal danger and finally the bad luck they are at the beginning of the story.

Boy 7 is based on the novel by the Dutch author Mirjam Mous, who writes children’s books and thrillers for teenagers. The book is aimed at readers over 12 years and leads to a dystopian future in which the Netherlands has turned into a police state. Almost simultaneously with the German production of the novel was also filmed there and ran in February in the Dutch cinemas. Not very successful. Main point of criticism: director Lourens Blok imitates rather awkward American genre models. A reproach that now also Yildirim must be made.

 

After the intoxicating beginning, he clings to the standards of cinematic storytelling for a young audience: fast cuts, sequences that are resolved into as many camera settings as possible, a cleaner look, exaggerated sound effects, a commenting score. For their own, creative approaches, there is no room for this constant squinting at the international generic formula film language. Yildirim emphasizes that he refers to the Weimar silent film, which actually experimented with genre narratives more intensively than any other cinema in Europe. So Yildirim calls his prison director Fredersen after the magnate from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, and he lets Sam stumble into a bar called “Caligari”. But it remains with these externalities, in the staging they find no echo. The remains as location and faceless as a commercial.

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