Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sean Kelly

Blindspot 2014: Se7en

seven

The post may contains SPOILERS

This month I watched the thriller Se7en, the sophomore film by director David Fincher.  William R. Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is a homicide detective, a week away from retirement, who is partnered with the short tempered new transfer David Mills (Brad Pitt).  Somerset and Mills are tracking down a serial killer, who is picking his victims based on the seven deadly sins of gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, wrath, pride, and lust.  As they rush to catch the killer, the two find themselves trapped in a twisted mind game.

Se7en is the second feature film by former music video director David Fincher, following his 1992 debut with Alien 3.  Along with Fight Club, Se7en is probably the film Fincher is best known for. 

The film is a dark crime thriller, with religious themes and some elements of horror.  Earlier this year, I heard Se7en being bandied about in comparison with the HBO series True Detective.  After watching the film, I can say that these comparisons are indeed valid.  When the film was made in 1995, Brad Pitt was still fairly early in his film career and Se7en can probably be considered one of the turning points.  As for Morgan Freeman, he is practically the same type of guy in every film that he’s in, even though there is a slight more of a dark edge to Freeman in this film.

One quite interesting aspect of Se7en is how much of the violence in the film is psychological.  Even though the seven murders are all quite gruesome, there is very little violence that is actually seen on screen.  All the film provides is glimpses of the posthumous victims and descriptions how they died and the audience is left to imagine the horror.  This is none more affective than the revelation of the final victim, which leads to what must have been a very dark ending for the time period.

While the film purposely at the time tried to hide his involvement, it is probably common knowledge by now that Se7en also features Kevin Spacey as the film’s villain John Doe.  Apparently the producers wanted Spacey to receive top billing in the film, but he was kept out of the opening credits to help keep the killer’s identity a secret.  It’s probably for the best, since John Doe doesn’t really become a factor to the plot until the third act.  However, he is still one creepy and sinister villain.  Se7en was also an early role for Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays David Mills’ wife Tracy.  Like Spacey’s involvement, Tracy’s fate in the film is probably common knowledge by now (I know for sure that I knew it long before seeing the film).  However, I still don’t want to get too spoilerific with that aspect of the plot.  That said, I was a little surprised how little Paltrow is actually in the film, since she ends up playing a big role in the ending.

Having now seen Se7en, I can now say that I’ve seen all of David Fincher’s filmography.  While I can probably still say that Fight Club is my favourite film of his, I still thought that Se7en was a solid and dark thriller.

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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).