Call it “NancyDrew Goes to Jerusalem,” and you won’t be far off the mark.
“The Seventh Coin” is a mildly diverting adventure that, minus a few seconds of graphic violence, would be well-suited for the Disney Channel. Theatrical prospects are iffy, but pic could prosper in vid and international TV markets.
Handsomely produced in Jerusalem with a largely Israeli crew, medium-budget indie has an American teenage tourist (Alexandra Powers) drawn into danger when her camera case is swiped by a young Arab pickpocket (Navin Chowdhry).
The plucky girl finds the boy, who is more mischievous than menacing, and convinces him to return what he stole. Trouble is, by that time, the boy’s grandfather has hidden a rare coin in the case.
The bad news is, the item is the legendary seventh coin of King Herod the Great. The worse news is, an effete British baddie (Peter O’Toole) has the other six coins and will kill anyone possessing the seventh.
Most of “The Seventh Coin” is an extended chase through the Old City of Jerusalem, with O’Toole and his minions pursuing Power and Chowdhry. A subplot involves an ambitious rookie Israeli cop (Ally Walker) who wants to impress her police chief uncle (John Rhys-Davies) by solving the case of a murdered rare-coin dealer.
Director and co-screenwriter Dror Soref keeps things moving at a lively pace, with periodic pauses to develop a budding (and entirely chaste) romance between his protagonists. Powers and Chowdhry are well cast and engaging.
O’Toole, in his splendidly malevolent hamminess, achieves a balance of eccentricity and self-parody.
Avi Karpick’s cinematography and other tech credits are first-rate.