Monday, December 8, 2014

Se7en Review

In 1996, at the young dumb age of 12, my older brother rented a movie from the local family run video store. As he started to watch it, I became curious and joined him, but my introduction into the brilliance of David Fincher was short lived as I would soon be told that I wasn't old enough for such things. I didn't even try to fight it and whine about wanting to see the rest, it was useless, so I did what any good kid would do. I sat in the next room pretending to do homework, both listening to the events of the film unfold and also conjuring up a plan to be able to watch it later in secret.

That night I snuck downstairs after everyone had reached a heavy depth of slumber and laid my eyes on this dark, brooding masterpiece. It is hard to describe how I must have felt in that moment, as the haunting concept of a serial killer and the horrific images of his work danced through my mind. Such evil was new to me, as I had screened quite a few works involving terror, brutality and death before, but they had all been works of undeniable fiction like Alien and Predator. Never before had I considered the possibility that such evil could be lurking in the darkness in the form of a person like myself. I understand why my mother would want to hide this side of the world from me, as I probably was too young to truly understand the level of fear that came with the knowledge that real, pure evil actually existed. The ironic thing is, before I experienced Se7en, I never fully appreciated why it was so important that I didn't talk to strangers.

18 years after I first observed the ominous, rain soaked streets walked by Mills and Somerset as they hunted the killer portraying his depraved artistry as a representation of the seven deadly sins, I not only love this film, I consider it to be one of the great works of cinema. Practically every frame makes me uneasy, but in the best possible way. I have so many viewings of Se7en under my belt I lost count a long time ago, yet I still get chills from some of the most unsettling sequences of the film. I'm not much of a gore guy, so it isn't some insatiable craving for the graphic nature of these scenes that brings a smile to my face. It is the incredible craftsmanship by a filmmaker with a vision that I cannot get enough of.

As my passion for gritty, disturbing noir cinema continues to flourish, I will always look back at Se7en as the film that started it all. I will never forget, I watched this on a Sunday night when I had school the next morning, and when I returned to class on Monday my teacher asked us individually what we had done over the weekend. For some reason I felt like being honest when it was my time to shine, so I said I had watched a movie called Seven. The smile left her face immediately, and she moved on to the remaining others without responding. As the end of the day neared, she asked me to stay after school to talk about the movie I had watched. After 5 to 10 minutes of listening to the typical you're too young, it's not good for you rhetoric, she sent me on my way.

The funny thing is, I probably failed to absorb 90 percent of the shit she had taught me that year. Hell, I don't even remember her name at the moment, but one question I had answered for me on that Sunday night will be ingrained in my mind forever.

What's in the box?



  1. Easily in my All Time Top 5. Another is Aliens, whose sequel Alien 3 was also directed by Fincher (see it's all connected). Anyway, I love everything about this movie, from the mood of the eternally raining city to the repartee of Somerset and Mills. Also my first real introduction to Kevin Spacey who is one of my favorite actors.

    1. Nathan, everything you said, I agree with obviously. I need to do an updated all time rankings, but I know this would safely land in a top 10 to 15 range for sure.

      Spacey as John Doe is incredible stuff. That scene where they are driving him in the car, the dialogue between the three of them, gives me the chills just thinking about it.

  2. This is one I guess I should watch again, but I'd disagree. Probably my least favorite of Fincher's flicks and certainly not a 5 for me. Brad Pitt is ridiculous in this film. The performance is too much in some scenes.

  3. I appreciate the opinion Brian, as I say, it would be boring if we always agreed.

    I love every moment of this, and Pitt really doesn't bother me. He is a bit over the top as the young overzealous cop next to the I'm too old for this shit Morgan Freeman, but I don't have any real issues with it.