You have been warned. The film Se7en is perhaps not known for being the most perkiest of films...it is hardly Sex and The City. In fact it is a truly disturbing odyssey, which ventures bravely into the uncharted territory of religious extremism mixed with body horror. Yet in any case, it is still an undeniably well-made film; one that seeks to push boundaries. I did this review a while ago but I thought I would share it with you.
A little note about the director: David Fincher is an interesting director. Unlike many (such as Tarantino and Coppola), he actually got off to an awful start within the world of Hollywood, and didn't make the biggest splash until well into the middle of his career. In the early 90's he had received significant backlash, from fans of the Alien franchise, after he took the bizarre decision to kill off the empowered heroine Ripley, in the third installment. This stressful ordeal - the lukewarm domestic box office takings and the poor critical reception- led to him retreating out of the limelight for a few years, only to explode back onto the scene in 1995 with this audacious piece of cinematic glory. Se7en can be credited with allowing Fincher to become more well respected and sought after, within the industry, sealing his reputation as the 'big daddy' of dark stylish thrillers (he has gone on to make others such as cult favourites Fight Club, Panic Room and Zodiac).
Se7en (1995) Dir. David Fincher
Two homicide detectives search desperately for a sadistic killer, responsible for using the seven deadly sins as a platform to commit unspeakable acts of brutality.
Set in a bleak city, plagued by rain and urban blight - the stage is set for the butchering of the innocent, through the sick acts of a madman. Ahhh yes, the thriller genre has become all too predictable, I huff to my parents. ‘Cue the mindless car chases and gratuitous profanity’- it’s fair to say I didn't have the most open mind about this film.
Yet after 128 minutes of unrelenting tension and nail-biting twists this film had me on the edge of my seat, feeling oddly captivated. It was not the graphic display of splattered blood and mutilated corpses that kept the interest alive, but the directing style of David Fincher. Instead of showing his audience the gruesome murders he reveals just the after effect, leaving a lot to your own imagination. This interesting choice makes the movie more mature and artistic, rather than just another slasher, that flaunts meaningless displays of bloody violence. The killings are clever and calculated, making you really think and absorb every shred of evidence.
What pushes a killer to be so brutal and sick, in their actions?
First it’s the turn of a grossly obese man, found face-down in a heap of spaghetti, his mouth smeared with dried sauce stains. Forced to eat until his stomach explodes - this is the ultimate punishment for a gluttonous sinner. From this moment Fincher unofficially introduces our elusive killer, curiously dubbed ‘John Doe’. A killer with a cause: ‘to turn each sin against the sinner’. The men tracking him are two detectives, caught in a race against time, following hidden cryptic clues left at each of the murder scenes. Knowing that six other heinous crimes are yet to follow, it’s a nauseating wait to see what disturbing display the killer will leave for them next.
The starring role goes to veteran actor Morgan Freeman, who offers a glorious performance as the wise aging Somerset. Somerset is a man who has seen and heard too much, over his many years in the force. Brad Pitt stars opposite Freeman as the arrogant young hot-shot, Detective Mills, who is lined up to replace him. A particular success of the film is Freeman and Pitt’s great onscreen chemistry, perfectly depicting the tentative bond between two very different characters. However the concept, of a veteran teaming up with a novice, does feel slightly regurgitated from the earlier action flick ‘The Rookie’, which displays a similar relationship between Clint Eastwood and Charlie Sheen.
Neverless this film sees David Fincher returning in stunning form, silencing all critics and establishing himself as the master of dark stylish thrillers. It’s definitely a movie to watch with a massive group of friends, huddled up beneath duvet covers. A warning though - make sure you hold onto your popcorn.
One of the bravest films to come out of the 90's. The film is highly successful in exploring the very darkest corners of the thriller genre. A must-see for any film addict.