A curious, almost magical figure, 7 comes with a mythical weight that seems to secure success for movies that feature it in their title. Is its surprisingly high success rate the only reason it’s become a favourite with filmmakers, or does it carry a greater, almost divine significance?
We might not have the answer to deep questions like these, but we do know that there are four lucky movies you can watch right now on streaming services in South Africa, all featuring the number 7.
Seven Pounds (2008): Netflix
Will Smith is one of the few actors who has made the leap from TV to film and, here, he stars as the enigmatic Ben Thomas, opposite Woody Harrelson, who can also make this bold claim. With support by Rosario Dawson and Octavia Spencer, this is a star-studded film, immersing the audience in a deeply humanistic story with the likeable Smith as our guide. After dialling 911 to report his own suicide, Ben aims to help seven people in as many days, claiming to be an IRS agent to win their trust.
Loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, this intense mystery drama is emotional and powerful, slowly unfurling what can be deemed a love story. Taking on a more serious role, Smith demonstrates his dramatic range in this heartrending drama, re-teaming with The Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino.
IMDB rating: 7.6/10
Seven Psychopaths: Showmax (2012)
London-born writer-director Martin McDonagh knows a thing or two about dark comedy. You could say he’s an expert, having been at the helm of In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths and more recently the Oscar-winning Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Originally a playwright, the brave director is demonstrating that his films aren’t simply a fluke, attracting the best Hollywood talent and acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
Seven Psychopaths is arguably the most off-the-wall and playful of his dark comedies, following a struggling screenwriter who becomes embroiled in the criminal underworld after a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu goes missing.
Featuring regular collaborators Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, with Christopher Walken and Olga Kurylenko, it’s a stellar cast of charming maniacs operating with Guy Ritchie flair and a wicked sense of humour.
IMDB rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 82%
Seven Years in Tibet (1997): Netflix
The sprawling and immersive epic, Seven Years in Tibet, is based on the 1952 autobiography by Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, who wrote of his experiences between World War II and the Chinese Liberation Army’s invasion.
Starring Brad Pitt as the intrepid adventurer, the ambitious and beautifully shot biographical war drama has a sense of documentary realism owing to the authentic locations, detailed wardrobe and ancient monastic customs.
While Pitt’s Austrian accent is inconsistent, he’s essentially an avatar for the audience, easy on the eye and able to anchor Jean-Jacques Annaud’s grand vision opposite a more comfortable David Thewlis.
At over two hours, it’s an infotaining depiction of Tibet’s history, eye-popping for its spectacular Himalayan vistas and powerfully realised through visceral war scenes.
In many ways a travelogue, Seven Years in Tibet is a transportive journey if you’re willing to be swathed in its robe.
IMDB rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 60%
Se7en (1995): Netflix
Morgan Freeman hit a sweet spot in the 90s, following up his memorable supporting role in The Shawshank Redemption as a detective on his last case in David Fincher’s Se7en.
Playing opposite a young Brad Pitt in an unlikely yet effective pairing, the two track a serial killer using the motif of the seven deadly sins. Dark, brutal and even grotesque, this neo-noir… nay, neon-noir crime mystery thriller was surprisingly well-received by critics and audiences worldwide.
A runaway success at the box office, Se7en was hugely influential, inspiring a wake of serial killer thrillers, several starring Freeman. The murky and shadowy New York psychological spine-chiller established Fincher and several acting careers of those lucky enough to be cast.
Now a star-studded classic, it’s rewatchable, still creepy as heck and delivers with one of the most shocking twists ever!
IMDB rating: 8.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 81%