7 Boxes (original title 7 Cajas) is an Adventure and Crime movie released in 2012, directed by Tana Schémbori and Juan Carlos Maneglia. A young man is hired to carry 7 shady boxes in his wheelbarrow, but the job becomes much dangerous than it seemed.
Hello, there! I’m dos Santos, and this is Ulven Reviews, with Movies and series from all over the world and all eras. Today we’ll talk about 7 Boxes, beginning with a plot summary, through the review, and finishing with a symbolic Rating. Here we go!
Víctor (played by Celso Franco) works in the Municipal Market 4 in the city of Asunción, transporting in his wheelbarrow whatever the client bought there. He competes for clients with Nelson (played by Víctor Sosa), an older man with questionable morals.
The young worker is always fascinated by movies, imagining himself in the place of the actors. So, when his sister Tamara (played by Nelly Dávalos) shows him a fancy cellphone with a camera, he falls in love but doesn’t have enough money to buy it.
Meanwhile, Nelson is also desperately in need of money, and it’s a life or death case for him. His young son has a health issue, and the medicine is extremely expensive for a man of his income.
During the hot and sunny afternoon, Víctor tries to finds clients so he can get the money for the cellphone when an opportunity arrives. He goes to a slaughterhouse to meet Gus (played by Roberto Cardozo), who sends him out with seven boxes and a borrowed cellphone. The boy has to get the boxes away and wait for further instructions from Gus on the phone.
However, this job was supposed to be Nelson’s, but since he was late, Gus hired Víctor. Don Darío (played by Paletita), Gus’s boss, agrees with Nelson that it’s too dangerous to leave the boxes in the hands of an unknown and authorizes Nelson to go after Víctor and the crates.
So, Víctor, with the valuable help of his friend Liz (played by Lali Gonzalez), tries to keep the job to get paid. However, the task will be much more dangerous than he previously imagined.
I watched 7 Boxes many years ago, and I didn’t remember much about it. When I watched it again recently to do the review, it was almost like as was watching it for the first time. I am very glad I took the time to enjoy this film again.
I can’t say the plot is complicated. In summary, the premise is: some criminals hire an unsuspicious worker to take a stroll with incriminating shit while the police are closely investigating, and everything goes out of control from there.
This simple idea is executed perfectly, and the story is remarkably well told. Many layers are added to the simple premise throughout the movie, and every subplot converges in a common point. It’s marvelous storytelling.
I love how things that seem murky at first are revealed later, making the story increasingly more intriguing. Some details are not spoonfed through expository dialogue, and others are not explained at all. However, if you’re paying attention, you’ll get it.
The movie is relatively short and fast-paced, but it never felt rushed or frantic, which would be really annoying. Everything flows smoothly from beginning to end, making it pleasant and fun to watch.
7 Boxes is fun as an adventure full of well-crafted action, compelling situations, competent characters, and settings (that we’ll get back to soon enough). But one of the best things that was also a surprise to me was the humor.
Driven notably by Don Darío and Luis (played by Nico García), the film had lots of funny moments without harming its tone and flow. So, besides the themes transiting around criminality and poverty, it has a light and comic approach to it.
Here, we have a rare case in which I like all the characters. The one I appreciated the least was Nelson because he is a piece of shit. However, we know his motivation is not pure greed, but his son.
Victor is a decent protagonist, but he doesn’t have enough qualities or a driving force to make him the best character. He’s smart, hard-working, and a dreamer, but I felt even in these traits, he lacks passion.
A surprising character to me was Officer Servián (played by Manu Portillo), introduced as a horny inconvenient officer, his role gains more importance from the midpoint on. He makes a nice duo with Sargent Osório (played by Mario Toñanez).
And talking about duos, Darío and Luis are among my favorite characters. The crime partners have some great interactions and dialogues, and, as I previously mentioned, they’re very funny, despite being vicious criminals.
However, my favorite character, by quite a large margin, was Liz. She’s also funny, plus she’s tenacious (sometimes even stubborn), intelligent and altruistic. She really brightens the movie and is a perfect sidekick.
All the performances are quite alright, but nothing too remarkable on the positive side. On the negative, though. There are some minor characters, with only few lines of dialogue that were extremely bad. There was one girl that even the look on her face was bad.
Well, moving on, I loved the make-up and costumes, mainly of two characters. At first glance, you might think it’s just regular clothing of the people of that area of Asunción, and for the most part, it’s a correct assumption. Pero, Luis, and Liz are completely different than the actors who play them.
Nico García, who plays Luis, doesn’t have those teeth and actually has hair. In general, he’s a more handsome man than his character. The same can be said about Lali Gonzalez, a beautiful and fully-grown woman, different than her role, Liz, a plain-looking teenager.
All of these characterizations fit perfectly with the narrow and chaotic setting of the movie. The streets filled with tents on both sides, making a corridor that was flawless for the movie.
To me, that setting felt very familiar as well. I went to Paraguay many years ago, and I could swear I saw in the movie a bar where I drank a Budweiser and eat a cheese platter (I wasn’t vegan back then). It wasn’t the same bar, because I’ve never been to Asunción. But still, the settings of the film brought me some nice memories of the adventures I went through in Paraguay.
Another enjoyable element was the cinematography, although not perfect for my taste. The colors not only matched the sunny environment but also enhanced the sensation of being hot and sweaty. The lighting is always well lit, and even when in dark places, there’s an excellent use of shadows and silhouettes.
The place where I felt slightly turned off, regarding the cinematography, was some instances of the camera work. Sometimes it’s really good-looking and compelling, but other times when the temperature of the action goes higher, it’s way too shaky.
The score is average. I really enjoyed the moments when there’s more of a local sound to it. However, when it gets to instances where they go to a more traditional cinematic sound, it gets very subpar.
The conclusion of the movie was satisfactory and a little bitter-sweet. The bitter-sweetness is what makes it better, showing it’s not a film of Disney Princesses and happily ever after. The only thing I think lacked was to show some characters a little more in the ending, but that’s a minor detail.
7 Boxes is a remarkable and entertaining film. If you still didn’t watch it, I highly suggest you give it a go. It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s highly enjoyable. I’ll rate 7 Boxes (A.K.A. 7 Cajas) 8 Moons.
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