Seventy times Seven explores the world of crime syndicate leader and property magnate, Jasper Maryk. A widower, he struggles to keep a promise made to his late wife on her deathbed: a promise to be a more merciful man. When Jasper releases a young associate, Joe, from a large debt, he is insulted by Joe’s aggression toward an impoverished debtor, Louis. Set against the charged backdrop of the 2011 Occupy protests, this neo-noir film explores the inner and relational conflicts of characters struggling with ambition & vengeance, and the outer conflict of a world demanding justice from the powers that be. To get at the themes of revenge and ‘man vs. himself’, Seventy times Seven probes beneath the surface of the central characters: In Jasper, we see a conflict between his magnanimity and hard man image. In Joe, we see a desperate consuming ambition beneath his smooth exterior. Finally, our film is set amidst a global social movement where the masses are asking who the real criminals are, locating them in the hypocrisy of banking and housing systems. We hope the audience will ask similar questions of our characters as the story unfolds.
Based on the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35), Seventy times Seven explores the human tendency of overlooking in ourselves the very thing we require from others. We revisit the ideas of mercy, hypocrisy and justice found in the parable through a contemporary look at a chain of human forgiveness, which, tainted by human frailty, quickly unravels into one of entitlement and vengeance. The echo of St. Peter’s ancient question to Jesus, “How many times do I forgive?” reverberates through the inner conflict of our 21st century protagonist (Jasper) and his opposing force (Joe). Equally, amidst the Occupy social movement, we explore a setting laden with the tension of wrongdoing and recrimination together with a third character, (Louis) who wants freedom from debt and control, but falls victim along the way. Our film preserves the essence of the parable whilst giving a fresh response to what motivates the story’s characters. By humanizing the master figure as a conflicted man we hope to not only add rich, relatable complexity to his character, but illustrate (1) the universal human conflict we all face in deciding to forgive and (2) the power of grace, by observing what happens when it is neglected.