Author (lover). Submitted on Mon, 29 Aug 2011
Seven Days in Utopia, the movie, is based on the bestselling book, Golf's Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia by Dr. David L. Cook.Okay folks, let's get this straight: this film is not about golf, although golf is the tool used to illustrate what it's really about; it's not about religion, although faith becomes the foundation in the hero's undertaking; it's not a love story, although love plays an integral part; and, it's not even about winning, although winning becomes a byproduct.
Young Luke (Lucas Black) has been pushed from childhood into becoming a golf champion by his demanding father. During his first major championship, Luke blows it in the most humiliating way possible. His career torn to shreds by his own hands in front of millions of people, he runs away and accidentally wrecks his car in a small town. There he meets Johnny (Robert Duvall), an unusual rancher and ex-professional golfer. Johnny, taking pity on Luke, throws him a challenge.
That's what the movie is about, not golf or religion or even winning, but a young man's struggle to decide what he really wants, and if he wants it bad enough to integrate his whole being--heart, mind, and body--into that decision.Seven Days in Utopia deftly manages to engross its audience in this dilemma and the people who help solve it. We feel immediate empathy for Luke in his battle to understand himself and what is really important in life. The movie comes close to bogging down in the love angle, but veers back, increasing our desire throughout to see Luke succeed, to reach the junction where his whole being is in tune with his decision. This ability to keep us rooting for Luke is one of the film's strongest points. The other, perhaps even stronger, is Luke's relationship with his unconventional mentor, Johnny. Johnny unorthodoxly (to say the least) teaches Luke the secrets of life that help him on his journey.
Robert Duvall may not be perfect in real life (thank God he's human!), but in his profession, he never puts a false foot forward. (Although not necessarily the traditional idea of a leading man, nevertheless, mention his name to any woman in Texas and the first thing she says is: "Oh, I love Robert Duvall.") He works his magic in this film, and by the end of the movie, he has made us fall totally and completely in love with his character. In the climatic last scene, our hearts burst in gratitude for the help he has given this young man who reminds him so much of himself.Seven Days in Utopia has other things going for it as well--the actors, perfectly cast, add sweetness, spice, and humor in just the right amounts. The scenery is gorgeous, the lighting, flawless and the music beautiful. In addition, the use of Robert Duvall's distinctive voice as narrator adds a nice touch--emphasizing the almost allegorical God-like role he plays in Luke's life.
If the above quotation is true, then Seven Days in Utopia is indeed a lasting work of art--touching its audience in a quiet and gentle way while bringing understanding to the heart.Ladies, bring tissues! You guys can just pretend you have something in your eye.At left, scenes from the movie. The poster with the silhouettes against the sunset is eye-catching and beautiful, but gotta love the one with Robert Duvall sitting on a horse at the
When Luke (Lucas Black) swerves his car to avoid hitting a cow in the road, this was a well-choreographed driving scene. A well-rehearsed stunt driver sat behind the wheel and drove the vehicle along a pre-established path, making sure to stay a safe distance from the animal. The
All horseback-riding scenes involved stunt riders or well-rehearsed actors who were skilled at riding, mounting and dismounting. All running/galloping scenes were well choreographed, and actors used caution while on and near animals. During the rodeo/arena scenes, the actions were all well-choreographed, and the stunt riders had been well-rehearsed for the action. Several wranglers/trainers were on foot and horseback around the arena. When the men played the game of outrunning the bull while holding chairs to their rears, this involved stunt men and a CGI bull.
For the fishing scenes, a combination of live fish and prop fish were used, along with special camera angels and editing methods. A hatchery-type pond where people practice catch-and-release techniques was used for the location. Using a special technique and no actual hooks/lures, a live fish was carefully tied to a soft fishing line (and released right after), and the actors were well rehearsed on how to move the line in an exaggerated manner and make it look like a struggle to catch the fish. When each actor held a fish in his hand, a fish prop was used.
“crash” part of this scene was not near the cow. The highway was closed off to outside traffic. Feed was placed on the road for the cow to eat, and this grazing, combined with trainer commands, kept the animal on its mark. For the brief goat scene, a leashed goat was brought to set by its owner, who held the leash and allowed the goat to stand and graze on feed.