Thursday, June 07, 2012

"Seven Days in Utopia": golf film makes Texas hill country look great, and turns preachy

Is “Seven Days in Utopia” (directed by Matt Russell) an exercise in preaching? It goes easy on the Christian message for its first hour, after a young golfer Luke Chisholm (Lucas Black), after a disaster on the pro golf circuit, shows up at Johnny Crawford’s “utopia” dude ranch in the Texas hill country, and Johnny invites him to stay in “Utopia” for a week of spiritual recovery. For a little while, before it gets back to Luke’s return to golf, it does get into God’s purposes.  At the end, as Luke rehabs himself as a pro at the Texas Open, I didn’t need Johnny’s intervention at the final put (link).

Johnny, the kindly host, was a golfer himself, and has lost a childless marriage to the bottle.  He is not above needing redemption himself, and he admits he cannot stand alone.

There are interesting sequences, with gorgeous wide screen scenery, of fly fishing, and then of a private plane flying lesson over the hills (I took one myself, from Redbird Airport in Dallas back in 1982). Johnny plays a dirty trick, cutting the engine and testing Luke’s ability to learn in a crisis.

There’s a harrowing thunderstorm sequence where they keep golfing, and I thought they would get struck by lightning.  There are flashbacks to Luke’s own upbringing in Waco and troubled relationship with his own dad.

There’s a line, “debts are not to be paid, but to be passed on.”

The official site is here.  It was filmed in Fredericksburg, TX and Utopia TX (near the border).  Some of the music post-processing was done in China. 

The film can be rented legally on YouTube for $3.99.  The distributors are Visio and Alliance Atlantis/ARC.

Picture:  Texas hill country, 60 miles W of Austin, my trip, Nov. 2011 (personal picture). 

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