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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Somerset, (Morgan Freeman) a deeply Intellectual Detective, with barely
a week left until his retirement and Mills, (Brad Pitt) the new cop in
town, who is a pretty weak detective, are thrown together to
investigate what at first appears to be another Homicide.
After a second Victim is found, Somerset realises that this is no open and shut case, and requests that he is relieved, in light of his impending retirement. Mills gladly takes over the case and plunges himself in way over his head.
As the work of a Crimally insane genius continues, Mills grows more and more erratic, and Somerset simply has to remain, to guide his young partner through the case, which ultimately leads to one of the finest climax's in movie history.
With Wonderful Performances from both Freeman and Pitt and a really dark and morbid direction from David Fincher, the movie is crammed with suspense, intrigue and Excitement.
My Favourite scene is John Doe (Kevin Spacey) tearing into Mills in the car, driving towards the Climax, the acting is simply perfect as Pitt's character is torn apart by the genius of the Criminally insane, and Freeman interjects with insightful rationality, demonstrating his superior mind. The Scene Carries such intensity, and at the same time encapsulates the primary characters basic elements. Most actors can't achieve this level of character depth, but these are three of the finest actors of our time. 9/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In 1995 David Fincher released a perfectly constructed modern
masterpiece; Se7en. One of the most exhilarating experiences of
all-time and a classic to come.
A cop; Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) has just moved into the city with his wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow) in hope of finally settling down. Mills will take over the job of Detective Lt. William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) an old cop who has seven days until his retirement begins. Both are dedicated to the badge. They are put together on the case of an obesity murder, in which a man has been forced to 'eat till he bursts'. This then leads to another murder scene in which a lawyer has bled to death, although the murderer didn't actually use the knife; he made the lawyer do it. This is just the beginning of a mass murder masterpiece crafted by the insane John Doe, brilliantly played by Kevin Spacey.
Whatever you do while watching it, do not see it as hollow. Se7en is far from it. Many scenes study civilisation; present civilisation. And its evil. Our society isn't a pleasant one. The film concentrates mainly on the cops search; when it comes to the mystery part in finding the killer, we discover the policemen's differences in methods, and how the most obvious one does not actually work. Of course, its Somerset, the one with the most experience who has the best way. He tries to find out why. Why some man is killing these people using a specific punishment. While Mills tries, unsuccessfully, to find out how; by studying the crime scene for clues. He ends up bored. With the help of the library, Somerset gets closer to the murderer. It may seem as though the role of Tracey is a pointless part, but she is more important than anything. She is the one who brings the men to being more personal with each other. Notice how in the dinner scene she is the one to introduce them by name. All making the climax tense and difficult.
Mills is the kind of guy to pull his gun out before his torch. He has an arrogant sense of things though is 'by the book' and works. Somerset has never even fired his weapon. He sees the evil round him. And he wants to leave it. Though he is a cop so he has the permission to do something about it. But the problem is, he isn't doing anything about it. John Doe is. The reason why society is evil is because we are allowed to sin. There is now nothing stopping us. It has become a common factor of life. And there should be. That is why John Doe thinks his behaviour is OK. But the problem is he is being stopped instead of the crime out there. This is the harsh reality we live in.
There are seven deadly sins. Gluttony. Greed. Sloth. Pride. Lust. Envy. Wrath. And seven ways to die.
Kevin Spacey is amazing as John Doe, portraying insanity perfectly. One of the greatest supporting performances of all-time already. And he's only in it for half an hour. Brad Pitt delivers a kind of forced performance which adds to the Hollywood effect of the film though I couldn't imagine anyone else for the part. Morgan Freeman played his role with the greatest concentration. Throughout he needed a look of woe on his face. And he did just that.
The writing is extraordinary. The genius, Andrew Kevin Walker took an interesting subject and created an instant classic. But most credit has to go to Fincher. Who took aspects you wouldn't even think of looking at and filming it. Together they project a deep film on our screens that no-one should miss. In one scene near the end, he makes it so when a word is spoken we cut to a character as that gives us clues to their fate. A feast for the brain. One of the most imaginative scripts of the 90s. Fincher also knows exactly how to shoot the film. Whether it be steady-cam for the slow and easy parts or the hand-held camera for the adrenalin pumping scenes.
The cinematography is what makes this an excellent movie. Everything is dark. The world out there is rough, raw, grim and gritty. It does just that. The effect it makes is astounding and truly works. The sinister music that is added keeps the heart pounding throughout and keeps the audience uncomfortable, in a good way. As that's what the film tries to achieve. The opening credits are upon the greatest segment of film I have ever seen. The jumpiness makes you feel uneasy yet intrigued to keep watching. Every scene, due to the effort put in it, is masterful and is what makes the film a joy to watch and observe.
Se7en reveals the best glimpse we have seen of the disturbing underworld. One of my favourites and always will be.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Seven is directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker.
It stars Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey and
R. Lee Ermey. Music is scored by Howard Shore and cinematography by
An unnamed US city and two cops are on the trail of a serial killer who kills his victims according to which one of the seven deadly sins they have committed.
Having been stung by the studio interference and negative fall out regarding his directorial debut feature film, Alien 3, David Fincher waited three years before committing to a project that he had control over. The result was Seven, a dark masterpiece of unremitting creeping dread that showcased the work of a clinically excellent director. Seven is not just a movie, it's an experience, an assault on the senses, a jolt to the brain, a trawl through the dark recess of some sick city where it always rains and the darkness holds many fears. This is no boorish slasher movie, it's psychological discord 101, we only see the aftermath of crimes, the discussions of which forces us to delve deep into our own imagination to fill in the blanks, forcing us to go where we don't want to go, you sense the director is somewhere gleefully pulling our strings.
"But that's the point. We see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it's common, it's trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon, and night. Well, not anymore. I'm setting the example. What I've done is going to be puzzled over and studied and followed... forever"
Seven is very much an ultimate horror film, really is there anything more scary than a serial killer who is smarter than the cops chasing him? Not only that but they are, oblivious as they be, part of the master plan. This killer is not only unstoppable in perpetrating his violent crimes, he is, as Freeman's weary retirement bound Detective Somerset says, methodical and patient. It's going to end bad, the cops know it and so do we, and that's when Fincher and Walker stick their hands into our guts and pull out the last semblance of solids to deliver one of the greatest endings of modern cinema. An ending fit to grace any noir, neo-noir or smart ass psychological horror movie from across the ages. With each viewing of Seven there's the repeating wave of bleak emotions that come as the reversed end credits roll, desolation and disbelief, sadness and shock, our trip through earthly hell is over, but only in the psychical sense!
Faultless cast performances, no doubt eked out by what we now know is a task-master director, photography that brilliantly brings to "light" the melancholic sheen of a decaying society and a Howard Shore score that crawls out of the speakers and cloaks your body like some evil Incubus or Succubus. Seven, a masterpiece of unease and evil wrung out by a master director. 10/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I won't bother with spoilers, as there are plenty of them in the other
When all was said and done, my wife and I looked at each other and said "This is the scariest movie ever?"
What I saw was a run-of-the-mill "insane killer gets tracked down by the older, smart cop and the younger, gung-ho cop while manipulating everybody in the process". Perhaps I've become jaded, but I found nothing here that was particularly scary or mind-bending. A clever nut-job leads the police on a mad chase, punishing people as "sinners". The only difference between this and a half-dozen other serial killer movies is the theme of the killings and the fact that the killer turns himself in 3/4's of the way into the story.
This leads to the "twist" ending that seems to remain with so many people. I didn't find the "twist" horrific, though. I simply found it jarring. It didn't fit and it didn't particularly surprise me either. Once the killer decided to let Mills live, you knew he was going to mess with him somehow. The only surprise is the degree of what he did. As far as I'm concerned, they could have dispensed with the whole "wrath" setup and ended with John Doe's words to Mills - "You're only sitting here because I ALLOWED you to live and you'll know that every time you look in the mirror."
Instead, they had to go for a "shocker" ending. This is the "twist" ending that supposedly makes the movie.
Here's the thing, though - The ending doesn't fit the killer's MO. We're given every reason to believe that John Doe is clever, capable, and highly intelligent. He's on a mission. He believes in his mission. He punishes the guilty for their sins, not the innocent. Why, then, does he pick a completely innocent stranger and use her as a vehicle to brand himself as personification of Envy? If he really was envious of Mills (a fact that is highly doubtful), he was already deserving of punishment so why kill an innocent person to make the point? How does the manipulation of Mills into becoming Wrath actually punish Mills for having committed the sin of Wrath?
None of these things make any logical sense within the framework of the story. The ending is completely out of synch with everything we've learned about the killer, including his own statements. All you can do is shrug your shoulders and say "Well, you can't expect an insane killer to be logical." and that just doesn't sit right with me. Not after the buildup we were given concerning John Doe.
I can't recommend this movie. If you want to see a taut, disturbing film in this style (sans the insane serial killer) then rent "8 Millimeter" instead.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went through these comments because I was trying to figure out why
people like this movie so much. I wondered if I had missed or
misinterpreted something, but now it just looks like these viewers are
way too impressed by a few sophomoric "themes" and a bunch of cutesy
Direction/atmosphere: the atmosphere is the movie's greatest strength. It's certainly vivid, though it's so relentless and there is so little variety in the movie's mood that it becomes a drag. Anyway, stuff like rain and good lighting are nothing without a good script, so moving on . . .
Characters: come on, classic Hollywood "mismatched buddies" movie, only without the slapstick. The young, overeager cop and the "jaded" cop who slowly learns how to deal with him. Give me a break. There's nothing here that I haven't seen in 500 other cop movies. They just stuck this million-year-old and million-times-used Hollywood trope in the middle of a serial killer movie. Bravo. As for whether John Doe is a "great villain" (I can't believe people would compare him to Keyser Soze or Hannibal Lecter), more on that in the "themes."
Plot/twists: What exactly do people think is "clever" about haivng each murder correspond to one of the 7 deadly sins? The cleverest one is the first one--the killer makes the guy "glutton himself to death" by eating until his stomach bursts--and that isn't exactly mind-blowing, but once it's out of the way and you get the basic idea, all the others are 5x less elegant. It would be cooler if the killer had actually found a way to *truly* turn people's own faults against them--i.e., trapping the "Greed" guy by making him put himself in harm's way when tempted by the promise of money, or killing the "Lust" victim just by tempting them with an attractive but diseased person. Instead, all of these murders come down to the murderer holding a gun to the person and ordering them to act something out that in some (often convoluted) way has something to do with the sin. For lust, he kills a woman while she's having sex. This is supposed to be clever/creative?
And it gets weaker, not stronger, at the end. **Spoilers alert, I guess.** The "envy" victim doesn't die of envy--instead, he kills her and explains to the cop that he's guilty of envy. How elegant. The final twist--making the guy kill him out of wrath--is the cleverest, and is cute, but that's about all I can say about it. It certainly doesn't live up to the ridiculous buildup they give it during that car ride when they say this will be a "masterpiece" and "remembered by everyone." A killer killed 6 people in contrived ways that somehow had something to do with the 6 sins, and then for the 7th he got someone to kill him out of wrath. I mean . . . not bad, but certainly not great. Plus, that last scene doesn't even make sense. If I were Morgan Freeman, I would say "Hey, put the gun down and just beat the guy up." That would be infinitely more satisfying anyway, and it would be pretty freaking easy to claim it was in self-defense afterward . . . good thing for John Doe's little scheme that they didn't think of it. Anyway, the ending is cute, but not the kind of "mind-blowing ending" that would make up for an otherwise ho-hum movie.
Themes: OK, I have a major beef with anyone who calls this movie "profound" or the killer's philosophical view "interesting." We all know there are lots of people doing bad things in the world, but: (a) it seems to me that the "seven deadly sins" are entirely the wrong place to focus, as evidenced by John Doe's unconvincing "You mean a guy didn't deserve to die for being so fat it was gross?" Come on--things like gluttony and sloth are things that you should stay away from for your own sake, but in the scheme of things that people should be killed for, they should be all the way at the bottom. You're telling me that sloth is worse than deceptiveness? Or, say, racism? I don't even think there's anything wrong with lust. And wrath can be justified. (b) Granted that we know lots of people do bad things, what exactly does it accomplish OR illustrate OR express to pick out 7 people (one of whom wasn't even guilty of any of the 7 sins) and kill them in ways that graphically illustrate the 7 sins? Is this supposed to show how sinning will kill you? (Only if there's a serial killer holding a gun to your mouth making you act it out . . .) Or just reinforce the message "Hey, sinning is bad?"
They try to present John Doe as this mysterious, rational, calculating, intriguing man completing a masterpiece, but I end up seeing him as a nutcase whose "project" makes no sense and doesn't express anything meaningful. A truly chilling character is one who scares me not just by being violent, but through the idea that he has some sort of special wisdom or intelligence that threatens my view of myself as "normal" and "right." Keyser Soze (a true mastermind) has this. Hannibal Lecter does as well. Some idiot who kills 7 random people because he's off on a Bible-beating rant that's barely coherent? Later guys, I'm gonna go watch The Usual Suspects.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
`Se7en' is all about harsh style and gruesome substance while it's
probably not a film for everyone (particularly the squeamish), it is one of
the most moody, memorable films made in recent years. A sense of absolute
dread pervades each and every scene, either from the powerful words and
deeds of the characters or from the dreary sets and atmosphere created by
director David Fincher. There's a quote from the film `The Crow' that
`It can't rain all the time' . . . well, in the world of `Se7en', it can
and it does.
`Se7en' is the story of world-weary police detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman), a man who's probably seen more terror and sadness in his lifetime than any man should ever be forced to see. Partnered with the young cop David Mills (Brad Pitt), Somerset is assigned to find the serial killer known only as John Doe. The horrific crimes of Doe are patterned after the Seven Deadly Sins for Gluttony, one victim was literally forced to eat until his internal organs exploded; for another, Greed, the victim is forced to cut an actual pound of flesh away from his own body. John Doe is a highly literate, intelligent killer; but so is Somerset, and an astounding game of cat-and-mouse filled with unexpected twists ensues as the hunt for Doe gets underway.
Andrew Kevin Walker's script for `Se7en' is absolutely dazzling. It's smart and powerful, and doesn't pull any punches the bodies, maimed and tortured, inexorably begin to pile up in graphic fashion, and Somerset and Mills aren't allowed to minimize the horrors they're forced to find. Each new corpse brings a true feeling of revulsion . . . and of dread, as the realization hits that another body will be forthcoming unless John Doe is found. The story is filled with misdirection and red herrings; just as the audience starts to think that the unfolding events of the film are starting to become predictable, the film lurches further into the unknown darkness, keeping the edge of uneasiness that pervades `Se7en' fresh . . . and constant. Kudos also to David Fincher's stylish direction this may be Fincher's best film to date. The entire look of the film is dark and gloomy, almost a suicidal form of 1940s film noir, evoking a despairing atmosphere that never relents or shows a glimmer of optimism. Combine that with Fincher's knack for turning even the most mundane scene into a nailbiter `Se7en' features a scene with Somerset and Mills standing together in an empty field, and yet the scene is still incredibly tense and `Se7en' becomes an exceptionally powerful, disturbing film that's difficult to turn away from.
The cast? Also excellent. Pitt is perfect as the cocky young detective Mills, mixing together the right amount of bravado and testosterone at the start of the film, and then later tempering that swagger with cynicism and fear as the movie progresses forward. In a way, Mills is a surrogate for the audience; he starts out thinking that he knows exactly what's going to happen but as events slowly unfold before his horrified eyes, it starts to dawn on Mills that he is mentally unprepared he is for a maniac like John Doe. Pitt handles the decline of Mills from overconfident to completely paranoid with great skill. The killer John Doe (I won't reveal his name here; the actor's uncredited in the film, so I won't mention it either on the off chance that you haven't read it elsewhere) is simply great. He's a quiet, intense figure who is Machiavellian with his calculated words and actions. Many other actors might've just mimicked Hannibal Lecter to portray John Doe . . . but the awesome performance in `Se7en' of the uncredited actor is actually better and more unsettling than Lecter himself. The best performance of the film, however, may belong to Morgan Freeman as Somerset. Freeman is perhaps the only person capable to tracking down John Doe, simply because he has seen so much sadness and horror before. Nothing Doe does, no matter how vile, is able to derail the detective's efforts. As Somerset, Freeman imbues the character with a certain tired, weary attitude . . . but still lying somewhere beneath that attitude is hope, and that small glimmer of hope, along with the wisdom of experience, is what prevents `Se7en' from spiraling into complete despair. Somerset's hope, small as it is, becomes the audience's hope as well.
With the possible exception of the very end of the film for all its daring audacity, Fincher chooses to play it a little too safe at the film's conclusion `Se7en' proves to be an uncompromising tour de force of modern horror. If you're not easily bothered by graphic horror and gore, then go watch this film. You certainly won't be disappointed. Grade: A
`Days from retirement' Detective Somerset is teamed with new-to-the-city
Detective Mills to investigate a murder that quickly becomes a series.
Somerset realises that the killer must be smart and is using classic
literature to model his killings on the seven deadly sins, however Mills
finds to hard to see him as anything other than a crazy man. With the
killer close to completing his work, Mills and Somerset begin to close in on
him. However nothing is as it seems in a dark depressing city full of moral
degradation and apathy.
When David Fincher came onto the scene with his debut feature Alien3 the world only paused to scorn a film that didn't fit in with the Alien franchise. Yes it wasn't a great film but I loved the sense of mood, the dark the tension in the shadows that Fincher created. Years later we have Se7en, Fight Club, The Game, and at people are getting Fincher!
Se7en was his major break through where his dark visions also reaped box-office gold. The story doesn't sound like much mismatched partners (one young, cocky and reckless the other a few days from retirement) go after a serial killer who is carrying out a series of twisted murders ..it sounds like Lethal Weapon meets a straight to video thriller. But happily it rises above that by so much it's unbelievable .it certainly shows how a story put in good hands can work out. From the start we are entombed in mood the city where it always rains, the uncaring people etc. The we begin to find murders but Fincher doesn't show us the murders, he lets us see the aftermath in the shadows and lets us imagine the rest Genius!
What you don't see is more gory than what you do. Meanwhile the tension is cranked up to fever pitch as the race to catch the killer is accelerated. When we meet the killer, the film just gets better right up to an ending that is simply one of the most logical, emotional and gripping endings I've ever seen. I promise you'll leave the cinema shell shocked.
Freeman is excellent as Somerset so good that it's a role he's tried to do again in `Kiss the girls' etc. But here he is the perfect foil for both Mills and the killer. Brad Pitt is also superb....he isn't allowed to trade on his looks here and does very well in a film that has little opportunity for him to pander to his female fans he spends a lot of it looking beaten up. Paltrow is OK with what she has but this isn't really a film that focuses on female roles. R. Lee Ermey is as good as ever and it's a sign of how good the cast is that actors of the stature of Charles Dutton and John C McGinley are basically in roles that barely count as cameos.
However the best performance is from Kevin Spacey in the years before he became an Oscar lovie and stopped doing bad guys or dark characters. He is only on screen for a small portion of the film but his dialogue is superb and he delivers it faultlessly. In the scene where he shares a car ride with Mills and Somerset you literally hang on his every word. However alongside Spacey Fincher stands triumphant with his dark vision given the perfect story and perfect actors.
At heart this is a cop thriller but excellent performances, excellent mood and a moral lesson from an excellent Spacey make this quite simply the most jaw-droppingly excellent thriller of the 1990's.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When audiences went to see the latest production of a tragedy by
William Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre, there was a universal
reaction by the spectators to what they were seeing on the stage. It
was one of sadness, anger, sympathy and relief. The sadness was
normally due to the innocent victim (who was usually a beautiful woman)
being murdered in an unjustified fashion, such as Desdemona in
'Othello'; the anger would have been directed towards the villain in
the play whose dastardly deeds had resulted in the deaths of heroes and
heroines - here we have Iago, arguably the most evil character in the
history of literature ('Othello' again); sympathy was not for the
devil, but for the poor people who had overcome the denouement but had
to deal with its consequences (Horatio perhaps in 'Hamlet', or maybe
Father Laurence in 'Romeo and Juliet'); and lastly relief was felt
because the audience had survived the play's violence and could thank
their lucky stars that they did not have to live in a world so cruel.
Now stay with me here, because there is, in fact, a point to all of
this. I believe that Fincher's 'Seven' is the modern Shakespearean
tragedy, the modern 'Titus Andronicus', if you will. The feeling that
washes over you when the credits roll in Seven (which are damn good
credits I might add, start and finish) is on a par with a great
Shakespearean tragedy, and it is for this reason why I think that films
such as Seven should be considered as more serious in a literary sense.
Not only that, but the film even introduces the audience to legendary
texts such as Dante's 'Inferno' and Geoffrey Chaucer's 'The Canterbury
Tales' - so I would be inclined to try and influence more English
professors to watch this film.
Now here's the part where I say 'Yeah Seven, woo, it's awesome! Yeah!'. I'm just going to go out and say it: this film has everything that you could possibly be looking for when watching a movie. The script, for one, is great. Original, funny in places, exciting, sexy...the list is endless really. Well played Andrew Kevin Walker; the boy done good. Next we have the acting which, to put in a Romantic sense, is sublime: people may argue that Morgan Freeman can only play one character, but I think it's similar to the situation with Hugh Grant (his one persona may be a bumbling, lovable fool, but he is damn good at it) and it's the same for Morgan. Here he is at his fatherly, worldly-wise detective best, and the comic double act of Freeman and Pitt is essential to the film. Pitt's performance is probably just about overshadowed by his portrayal of Tyler Durden in Fincher's other chef d'oeuvre 'Fight Club', but in no way is this a demeaning statement to Pitt. He is, or was, one of my favourite 'younger' actors (that's the Ed Norton, Johnny Depp ring, as opposed to the Pacino/De Niro/Hoffman circle of expertise) until 2005 came about - Ocean's 12, to put it mildly, disappointed me greatly. However, let's think positively: with Seven and Fight Club and Snatch, I'm sure Brad has something in store for fans like me. Gwyneth Paltrow is probably the unsung hero, or heroine, of the film and ironically she's the one who gets it worst (or does she? Refer back to tragedy point about sympathy). The words 'never better' spring to mind when thinking about Paltrow's 'Tracey'. There's someone else I'm not mentioning here, despite the 'contains spoiler' tick, but let's just say he/she/it provides, in my eyes, the greatest twist OF ALL TIME. Last but not least, David Fincher is where it's at. His undoubtedly cool style is the reason why this film is so...cool, for want of a better word. Thanks to him, Morgan Freeman is cool, Gwyneth Paltrow is cool, the man who works in that horrible place where the 'Pride' crime takes place is cool, even the man/woman/thing with no name is cool (to a certain extent).
To conclude, there are certain films that when the credits appear at the end, you think to yourself 'That has to be the best movie I've ever seen'. 'Reservoir Dogs' and 'L.A. Confidential' are prime examples. In my opinion, 'Seven' epitomises this type of film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off, I KNOW that I'm gonna get grief and derision from most here
because, I'm sorry, but I don't really think this film is the be all,
end all that everyone thinks it is.
YES, it is well made, directed, and acted; and the lighting is sharp which fits the nihilistic 'Noir'ish mood. And, yes, it was indeed pretty much the first of it's kind which set a gritty, dark tone for crime films to come. Fine... I really have no specific negatives about the movie. HOWEVER... At the end of the day did I personally really find it THAT entertaining...? Not really... Yes, the unexpected ending is both shocking and dramatic, but does it honestly make sense...? ***SPOILERS Keven Spacey clearly and explicitly states the reasons why he has committed these murders: That people are doing all these very bad things everywhere all the time and people just don't care; so, he is setting 'the example' of what people should be doing to punish these 'sinners'. Okay... Now we are supposed to believe then that out of the blue he kills a COMPLETELY innocent woman (who is also pregnant) which to me the SOLE purpose is for an (admittedly extremely dramatic and shocking) plot device to set up Mills to kill him...??? Come on... I don't buy it. It is TOTALLY contrary to the very motivation of Kevin Spacey's character. But yeah, what an ending, sure... *** END SPOILERS
Anyway, the question is, what do we find truly entertaining about a film? Putting stylistic touches or technical competence aside (such as visual effects, special or moody lighting, excellent cinematography, sound design, etc.) to me it primarily is this: How engaging or absorbing is the plot or story? How does it carry us along as it develops? How involving and complex are the characters and how interesting is the interplay and relationships between them? Now, these are just basics for most films. I realize that there are special genres or styles that we enjoy individually simply because we like those types of films (1950's Sci Fi, Slasher Horror Films, Ultra-Cheeeeezy Kung Fu movies, etc.) But, with this film at the end of the day what do we have...? Sure, we have this ghoulish, creepy, dark story of a killer who is killing by way of the 7 Deadly Sins. Okay... Characters...? Well, yes, all the actors concerned do a fine job; no real complaints there. BUT...! How deep or complex are they? How fascinating are they really? How engaging and intriguing are their interactions? To me personally, I felt that both the plot and character development to be rather shallow and superficial. I mean, WHAT do we really know about them? How deeply are we drawn into their lives and relationships? I'm sorry, but to me I really don't see a whole hell of a lot going on here other than a bunch of neatly lit, dark and somewhat moody scenes with little or no real substance. And the overall 'message' we are left with? The quite trite, common, and ultimately boring 'No one cares because the evil that people do is so arbitrary and horrible, so what's the point?' Yeah, real depth there...
So, yeah, the film is well put together and there's nothing really 'BAD' about it per se; but, I do not feel myself that after all is said and done that you walk away from it with much of anything. There are darker and FAR more entertaining Horror films out there; and there are also dark, gritty, and INFINITELY more complex and engaging crime films out there. Films where afterward you actually feel like you have either been truly entertained by a story that makes you think and guess and wonder and also with characters who make you feel and care MUCH more about them because they are portrayed in a better, fuller, and more complex way.
So, do I like dark, ambiguous, moody films? YOU BET! Do I like the dark, even nihilistic overtones of period FILM NOIR? ABSOLUTELY! Do I even like films with little substance BUT have TONS of style and mood (a la David Lynch, say) YES SIREE!!! But to me, this film, although of good quality, honestly strikes me as a 'One-Note' simplistic film and I just do NOT quite buy into the ending at all; it is merely a completely nonsensical plot device to give us a slam-bang ending.
I mean, just a random example that comes to mind, I've seen Sandra Bullock's crime film 'MURDER BY NUMBERS' like 3 times and I've fully enjoyed it each time. You have a main character that is extremely complex and engaging; you have antagonists that are thoroughly riveting and with a layered relationship that is completely fascinating. And, you have a story that as it unreels truly draws you into the psyche, feelings, and motivations of the characters. And this is just an off the top, fairly above average example; nothing Earth shaking or anything, but just a simple example of what a movie is SUPPOSED to be. Entertaining...
But, I will say this though... It has to have probably THE best opening credit sequence and background song ever!!!
For this film though, I seriously doubt that I would ever really have the desire to sit down and watch it again...
*** EDIT (2015.02.14)
Heh, I'm actually thinking about giving this another chance and watching it again... :) I'm curious if my impressions will still be the same...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At first, I was a little hesitant about taking time out of my life to
see Seven. I mean, I am a busy person... but this film was well worth
my time... Perhaps the best Brad Pitt film that I have seen, this film
involves two detectives (Pitt and Freeman) going after a delusional
killer (Kevin Spacey) who murders his victims according to the seven
deadly sins: gluttony, greed, lust, etc... Spacey takes pride in his
killings and leaves clues for the police, similar to "Son of Sam"
killer David Berkowitz when he murdered six women in New York City in
the 1970's ("Summer of Sam"= another great film)... This was an intense
thriller that had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish...
Movies generally take a lot to keep me interested, and I am generally a fan of comedies and action flicks. But Seven was different.... it was a fantastic thriller that kept you thinking and waiting to see what happens as Pitt and Freeman chase down the barbaric killer who feels that he is doing "God's deed"... This film is a must-see!! My only regret is that I had did not see it until 10 years after its theatrical release... Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments...
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