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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Aug 21: Se7en


Aug 21: Se7en

"Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi."
Directed by: David Fincher, Rated: R, 127 minutes

There aren't as many serial killers movies as one would think, let alone effective ones. The idea of a man (or woman) going around a city murdering unsuspecting people, leaving calling cards or signatures, has always been a creepy fascination a lot of us have. But in that fascination, there is fear and one would think that movies inspired by that fear would be aplenty. Some of cinematic history's greatest villains are serial killers- Norma Bates (Psycho), Alex DeLarge (A Clockwork Orange), Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs). These performances are also considered some of the best of all time, so perhaps a big reason there aren't as many serial killer flicks is because of the level set so high by these previous people. However, David Fincher has managed to produce two terrific movies about this topic- Zodiac, an underrated masterpiece about the Zodiac Killer, and his most certain masterpiece, Se7en.

The movie also has the most disturbing opening credits of all time. 

Se7en follows Dt. David Mills (Brad Pitt) and Dt. William Sommerset (Morgan Freeman) as they pursue a serial killer that bases each of his murders on one of the seven deadly sins. As the two detectives get closer to discovering the identity of the killer, they're thrown into a loop and find themselves even further away. The film's plot is formulaic, and you know that another body will be discovered every fifteen minutes or so, but the way Fincher crafts the story makes everything more intense and downright eerie. Going into the film, most people are aware of the seven deadly sins, but the creativity (if that's the right word) that goes into each of the murders, turns the film into something you can quite never expect. 

You won't be able to eat spaghetti for a long time after watching the film. 

As in all of his films, Fincher throws fully fleshed out characters into an absolutely miserable and bleak setting, where right off the bat he abandons all hope. You're constantly on edge, as are the characters, and each turn holds a danger you know is there, but still can't avoid. It's full force fear in the most successful way, and Se7en grabs your throat at the beginning of the film and only lets go (and throws you to the ground) days after the credits roll. Se7en also features one of the most compelling, frustrating, and genius endings in movie history and brings everything together in the most depressing way possible. As for the identity of the killer, you're completely left in the dark with the detectives, and it's only when they know "whodunit", that the audience is aware as well. Se7en also has terrific performances from both Pitt and Freeman as well as a phenomenal performance from the killer (who's identity I will not disclose for those who have not seen the film). 

Who is the man behind the murders? *ominous music*

I cannot recommend this film enough. Fincher has quite the filmography under his belt, with films (along with the previously mentioned Fight Club and Zodiac) such as The Game, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Panic Room, and The Social Network. With films like those, it means a lot when I say that Se7en is his best film. It's full of f**ked up imaginative murders, taps into the fear we all have, and creates something so dark with no hope you can't help but feel uncomfortable. The audience only witness the destruction one man puts out on a bunch of strangers, and while we never see the actual act of murder happen on film, the consequences and aftermath are all on display. Each glimpse leaves you bothered but also intrigued, and while the film doesn't make you a bad person, it taps into a part of your curiosity you probably wouldn't want on display. 

The Good:
great performances from the entire cast, who are each given moments to shine
The Better:
masterful sequences that play close to even the smallest of details, showcasing a man so disturbed and so twisted, yet genius in his work
The Best:
an overall eerie feeling that doesn't leave you right away and a lasting effect that leaves you knowing full well that you just witnessed a masterpiece

Overall: 9.7/10


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At August 21, 2012 at 9:08 PM , Blogger Bubbawheat said...

Brilliant movie, even if it's one I haven't been able to re-watch in a long time.

At August 21, 2012 at 9:10 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Yes indeed. You should def revisit it. Maybe throw it up as a "villain" kind of movie or something?

At August 22, 2012 at 3:36 AM , Blogger Bubbawheat said...

Heh, all the movies I watch aren't just so I can review them. :) I just find it harder to watch because it's so dark and I'm rarely in the mood for such a dark movie (and also don't have too much non-5-year-old-free-time to watch R rated movies)

At August 22, 2012 at 6:51 AM , Blogger Mavi said...

watched this just last month... but one question the dvd I watched didnt show the head... did the orginal release show the head??

At August 22, 2012 at 10:05 AM , Blogger Nick said...

You know what, that's a damn good question. I swore I remember seeing the head before, but this time around it wasn't shown.

At August 22, 2012 at 10:06 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Baby-sitter. Then have an R-rated movie fest.

At August 22, 2012 at 11:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds like a movie I need to watch.

At August 22, 2012 at 12:06 PM , Blogger Sati. said...

Damn I really need to find the time to rewatch this gem. Morgan Freeman's work in this movie is one of my all time favorite performances, he is just amazing as this genuinely good person who keeps fighting knowing full well that the world is shit. I agree it's Fincher's best, this guy made a lot of great movies but this one is by far most memorable and infuential.

At August 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM , Blogger Sati. said...

I think there is just a blurry shot of her face inserted in the scene.

At August 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM , Blogger Bubbawheat said...

I think it's just such a strong scene that when you think back on it, you create the memory of seeing the head, even though it was never really shown.

At August 22, 2012 at 3:24 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Really good point, Bubba. I swear I saw it before though.. but who knows. One of the biggest things about this movie is you don't need to see things to know they're there. Just as you never see the killings, just the aftermath.

At August 22, 2012 at 3:24 PM , Blogger Nick said...

It most certainly is. I hadn't seen it for awhile and after re-watching it I was shocked at how good it is and how well it's lasted. Perfect casting with Freeman and Pitt.

At August 22, 2012 at 3:24 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Yes you should!

At August 22, 2012 at 4:33 PM , Blogger Richard Kirkham said...

When I saw this movie in theaters, my first reaction afterwards was that I needed to shower. The premise, the setting and the payoff are disgusting and left me with a bad taste in my mouth. For years when I discussed with my classes a movie that I thought was "good" but that I could not recommend, "Seven" was the answer I gave. I watched it again about four or five months ago, the first time I watched it all the way through since 1995. It still has that sheen of grime and filth on it but I found it less reprehensible than I did the first time. I may have mellowed or I may simply have been overrun by so many other unpleasant films that my standards have shifted a bit. Like I said, it is a good film but the tension was frequently undone by the unpleasantness. "Zodiac" on the other hand is a hypnotic procedural without a flaw. It is in my opinion Fincher's best film. Whenever we cannot decide on what to watch here at the house, "Zodiac" seems to appear in our Blu Ray player as if by magic, and then frightens us over again, even though we know what is coming. The five minutes in the projectionists basement had more terror in it for me than the two hours of "Seven".

At August 22, 2012 at 11:38 PM , Blogger Nick said...

While I love, love, love Zodiac, Se7en just has its own twisted and disturbed spot in my heart. I do understand where you're coming from, though, and it makes a lot of sense. It certainly is a "dirty" feeling movie but when you have crimes like that, it needs to be filthy lol.


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