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'Seven Days in Utopia': Did he make the putt?

September 4, 2011 |  8:08 am


There have been many memorable endings to films, from Scarlett O’Hara proclaiming “tomorrow is another day” in 1939’s “Gone With the Wind” or the disclosure of the identity of Rosebud in 1941’s “Citizen Kane.” But the inspirational G-rated golf drama, “Seven Days in Utopia,” which opened Friday, doesn’t have a traditional ending.

(SPOILER ALERT: Key plot points are discussed from this point on.) Based on David L. Cook’s faith-based novel, “Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia,” the drama stars Lucas Black as Luke Chisolm, a young pro golfer who has a disastrous round on the tour. Escaping the pressures of the tour — especially his demanding father, who is also his caddy — Luke finds himself stranded in a little town in Texas called Utopia, where he is given seven days of golf, life and spiritual lessons from an eccentric rancher named Johnny Crawford (Robert Duvall).

With renewed confidence and faith in God, Luke plays another pro game in the state and finds himself a putt away from winning. But as soon as he hits the putt, the film ends and encourages everyone to continue the journey at http://www.didhemaketheputt.com.

“I can’t take any credit for it,” said the film’s director, Matthew Dean Russell, about the website. “David Cook, the author of the book and the producer on the film, orchestrated all the funding. He — along with Visio Entertainment, our distributor, and the investors — thought it was very important to create something that was more than just a film — a place of testimony and a place where God could be glorified. To those guys it was every bit as important as the 100 minutes you get when you sit in a movie theater.”

Russell added that “for everyone that was involved in the movie, from the top down, it was more important that we were doing something for God rather than making a movie designed to make a lot of money at the box office. We wanted to make the movie not preachy, but if you want to go to the website and ‘continue the journey,’ so to speak, we didn’t want to do it in a movie theater because we didn’t want to offend anybody.”

The website features Cook offering the answer to whether Chisholm holed his putt by reading from the first chapter of the sequel. The site also features "Bury Your Lies," which encourages those who want to follow the word of God to "send the lists that have established your heart even though the weight of them has been crushing your soul." There is also a prayer to read for guidance, a video tour of the golf links of Utopia, Texas, and a link to a store to buy items related to the book and movie.

As a Christian, Russell said, he feels the film’s conclusion is perfect. “You don’t need to know if he made the putt,” he said. “That is the point of the movie. It doesn’t matter. It’s the old saying: It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”


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Photo: Matthew Dean Russell, left, Lucas Black, center, and Robert Duvall at the Atlanta premiere of "Seven Days in Utopia." Credit: Nathan Bolster / Associated Press.