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Se7en (1995)
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Poignant social comment via the medium of film, 9 June 2004

Overall, Seven is an excellent film. It is highly enjoyable in the sublime sense, in that despite being a film of great darkness combined with graphic depictions of murder, there is in fact a very poignant social comment at the end that arises from it all. The central underlying theme of the film is how society seems to turn a blind eye to the seven deadly sins it commits on a daily basis, and how a highly intelligent serial killer commits a series of brutal murders to expose this and voice his discontent with this matter.

Initially, it starts with a seemingly standard murder mystery type plot, though the brutal ways in which the victims are murdered is quite unprecedented in a film of this genre, and the production design also gives the film a certain historic/period atmosphere which aids in setting itself apart from the norm.

As the film progresses, each murder appears to get more gruesome and horrible than the one before. At times during the first one and half hours of the film then the pace gets a little slow, although this in fact can be seen as a build up towards what becomes one of the greatest endings in film history.

The most poignant part of the film occurs when Jon Doe is explaining the rationale behind his murder 'masterpiece' to the two detectives whilst in the car near the end. He explains that he was chosen to commit this crime (even though Somerset replies that this would fly in the face of martyrdom). He says that he cannot tolerate the fact that deadly sins are committed 'on every street corner' and people just tolerate it and go on living their normal lives. He therefore uses murder as a means of exposing the fact that we live in a society which in fact is sinister, sinful, and 'shitty' as Doe puts it. Here, the dialogue is exquisite, and every word that Doe utters seems to have been carefully thought out by him (the character). He is, as he says, 'knocking society in the face with a sledge hammer' to try and make people aware just how much they are in fact going against the lord and the bible. Doe can therefore be seen as man who wishes to initiate new values in society. He illustrates each of the sins by murdering sinners of each sin e.g.the lawyer who lied to keep rapists and murderers on the street to make lots of money (that's not hugely sympathetic to the law profession, i.e.all lawyers are sinful!!)is an illustration of greed.

The film is therefore a very clever social comment on quite a controversial and difficult matter. As society has become increasingly secularized, to commit a deadly sin is not such a meaningful or 'sinful' thing as it used to be, although in the extreme sense that Doe illustrates it as(e.g. lust's disease spreading whore) such sins (but not necessarily in the biblical sense) are still massively relevant to contemporary society.

Overall, therefore, it has an extremely cleverly thought out plot, superb acting from all the cast, and makes for a very thought-provoking piece of cinema.

Overall Rating: 9/10