Se7en (1995) — A grim film noir indeed

“What I’ve done is going to be puzzled over, and studied, and followed… forever.”

Justin’s rating: Freaked me out the first time I saw it. Freaked me out the last time I did, too.

Justin’s review: I must first get off my chest the whole issue with the title of this movie, mainly to deal with that rebellious “7” in the middle of the title. Sure, everyone calls this movie Seven, but that’s not really accurate, unless you twist your head sharply to the side in the middle of reading that word and mistake the 7 for a “V”. So should you pronounce it “See-Seven-Een”? Does the 7 make any sense in the title, or is it as it seems, hopelessly redundant? As if I need the number as well as the word to figure out the numeric value?

And while I’m on the subject, what’s up with the acronym for Independence Day as ID4? As far as I’ve discerned, nowhere in the actual title of Independance Day is the number four included. The title “ID4” might even confuse those newly sworn-in citizens of the USA that this is the fourth sequel to a rather lackluster Will Smith/Jeff Goldblum feature.

Despite the fact that ever since Silence of the Lambs came out (and won oh-so-many Oscars) and we have been deluged by countless Serial Killer Movies, I only include this movie (Se7en, for those of you filling in the crossword puzzle) in the same league as Silence. Ironically, both films concentrate more on the search for and methods of the serial killer than actually featuring the serial killer himself. I honestly don’t think you can boast an accurate portrayal of a serial killer in a film, because you’re either gonna have to show a guy sitting in a huddle, talking to a wall for a good portion of the film, or else come up with some unrealistic, celebrity-type killer who has more quips than Regis during the $500,000 question.

Morgan “Drivin’ Me Crazy” Freeman and Brad “Should Be Euthanized To Give The Rest Of Us Males A Chance” Pitt follow the body trail of a serial killer for a fun-filled week. They do this in one of the gloomiest unidentified cities the world has to offer. It’s constantly rainy, cloudy, smoggy, and the buses are always two minutes behind schedule.

The cop buddy pair-up is typical of most cop movies, except that there isn’t a lot of friendly banter that has to do with jumping off tall buildings and being too old for this… well, you get the picture. Our mysterious killer, out for games and laughs, is tormenting people according to the seven deadly sins. Ah, yes, and there you have the hook of the movie. It’s all manner of gruesome and depressing and shocking, but done with a pretty slick style.

Morgan Freeman brings a dignified presence to the film, and constantly gives the impression that if there’s one person who can out-smart this wickedly intelligent killer, it’s him. It certainly isn’t gung-ho Brad Pitt, whose cocky eager beaver attitude earns him few points in my book.

Se7en is a hard film to recommend, but also a hard film to turn away. David Fincher and his team crafted a stunning-looking movie that feels as gritty to watch as its subject material. The plot certainly isn’t forgettable, although you may wish to exorcise some of its moments from memory. If there’s anything admirable to hold up here, apart from the cinematography, it’s the theme of good people fighting a seemingly losing battle to a morally decaying city.

The proof of this movie’s genius is in its longevity. We still remember the villain, the seven deadly sins, and the shocking twists and reveals. In that, I suppose that the killer managed to pull off his master plan rather well.

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