Se7en / Seven
Se7en (aka Seven, 7, Sept, Siete, Sieben, セブン, 七, 일곱 …) during a veteran detective’s final week a gruesome serial killer surfaces, whose work is based around the seven deadly sins. Despite being released in the mid-90s and framed as ‘modern’ this has a sense of timelessness; it’s puply and Noir to the core – especially Freeman’s character, who’s straight out of the 40s. This is just part of Fincher’s portrait of an extremely nihilistic vision of ‘downtown’ America – a nameless, timeless city characterised by sirens, rain, fear, vice and filthy, dilapidated buildings mirroring their residents. It’s a dingy look, but one that has subsequently influenced a lot of movies and TV (The US Killing as a prime example). Whilst the story takes a while to properly get going once it gains momentum it’s an unstoppable force -right through to the very last scene. It’s also remarkable that 20 years on it’s still effective, and shocking – which is a testament to Fincher’s directorial skill. Despite all of the larger than life blood and guts, Se7en is all about the minor details; everything helps to flesh out the characters and explain their behaviours – allowing you to pick out more details every time you watch it, which is what makes it a classic.
Fincher did an amazing job building up the tension slowly, but not dragging it out. When I first saw this movie, it was years after its release, but I didn’t know much about it. When the box shows up and Freeman’s character opens it, I had to turn the movie off I was shaking so bad. I could guess what was in the box and kinda figured how things were going to end for Pitt and Spacey’s characters. It took about another month or so before I could go back and finish the movie.
Not sure whether it’s too well-known, or the ending is part of the public’s consciousness now but looking back at how great and still effective it is (and despite being high on the IMDB Top 250 movies) you never hear anyone banging the drum for Se7en!
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It is interesting that Seven doesn’t get nearly as much attention as Fight Club continues to get, yet I think most people would recognize that Seven is the better movie (only just barely) and has had more of an influence over other films and TV shows.
Agreed – it definitely seems to be easier forgotten than other in the Fincher cannon!