Monday, August 2, 2010

Day Thirty-One: Se7en

Ranking on IMDb Top 250: #27
Year: 1995
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman

Anytime I tackle a movie higher than about #50 on this list, I have to treat it carefully. Even a normal, non-movie obsessed person is bound to watch that many movies over the course a year, so over the course of movie history, to be counted among the fifty greatest films ever is an untouchable feat. Hundreds of masterpieces will be left out in the cold. That doesn't mean, of course, that the top fifty should be arbitrarily chosen among masterpieces simply because there's so many great films. I say all this because Seven is a really fantastic movie, but when I went to look at its position on the list and saw it sitting at #27, my initial reaction was disbelief. I mean, it's great, but is it the twenty-seventh greatest movie ever? With a little bit of reflection, I came around. It really probably is that great.

If you don't know the plot by now, you probably aren't breathing: A serial killer stalked by two detectives is carrying out a series of murders based on the Seven Deadly Sins. There is an eventual twist/revelation that brings the movie full circle. Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey both give stellar performances, and a still-pretty-young Brad Pitt does his best to play a psychologically complex cop. The movie cemented David Fincher as one of the most promising young directors of the 1990s, and rightly so. It gave a new twist to the Law and Order-style investigation film and had some truly terrifying images – Gluttony and Sloth come immediately to mind. There's a lot more to say about this movie than I have the mental capacity to say right now, as I am extremely tired and have to get up soon, but I'll invite the same thing I invited when I wrote about Amadeus: If you want to have a discussion about this movie or pick my brain about it, use the comments section to do so and I'll be happy to reply!

The Good: Psychologically taut script with some truly stark cinematography.

The Bad: Pitt hadn't come into his own as one of the greatest actors in Hollywood just yet.

The Skinny: I hope it's not too bold to agree with this movie's position on the list, but I'm quite okay with it.


  1. Its not much more than a cliched investigative thriller with images that are unnecessarily gory and will shock only people who haven't seen too many R-rated horror films. Its a good film, sure, well acted (mostly) and tightly plotted, though too often the characters are fortuitously told things right at the necessary times.

    It also suffers from a problem with a lot of films about crazy-awesome criminals (like, say, The Dark Knight) in that the villain's plan is unbelievably improbably to pull off. Kevin Spacey's character is so fucking lucky, or the cops are so fucking dumb that everything ends up going exactly as he plans.

    And God the ending is dumb. It's telling how much more it's mocked ("Whats in the box whatsintheboooooxWHATSINTHEBOX") than respected. I'd give it a seven out of ten if that didn't look like a pun.

  2. God my post is fucking muddled as hell.

    Its a good enough film. Acting, direction, mood, etc all good. But its formulaic and goes off the rails at the end.

    And if interesting gore makes a film better, the saw films are masterpieces.

  3. I'm not sure I found it particularly GORY, but then I found the murders themselves extremely interesting. Not in a "huh, somebody should try this" way, because Spacey is clearly out of his mind in my opinion, but the way the murders were orchestrated makes for some very cool shots. If some of that feels like unnecessary gore to you, I guess we'll have to disagree.

    And I don't have a problem with the nature of the ending itself, but Pitt didn't act it the best, I'll definitely give you that.

  4. Well, we can agree to disagree on the gore, but IMO it does get too much and loses the graphic effect it should have.

    As to the ending, it's just too convenient that Spacey was able to kill Pitt's wife, get a driver to take her all the way out there, learn about the pregnancy, and so forth. And it just comes so out of left field. Its fridging of the worst order, and it all comes down to Pitt to make it believable instead of ridiculous, and he fails pretty badly.

    That's just my take.

  5. Well, this is fucking coinci-fucking-dental

  6. As to the second-to-last comment, here's where I admit (to no one's surprise) that I suspend my disbelief very easily in (good) movies. I'm the guy who flipped his shit in Shutter Island when Leo gets to the lighthouse. It's in my nature to buy into every twist and turn a director throws at me, so when the whole execution deal went down in the desert at the end of Seven, I was in a whirlwind, haha.

    And 'bout that. :D

  7. Saw it the last time about 4-5 years ago, but I rememver it quite well. And when I saw it in top 30 in imdb I was surprised. That feels overrated for this one.
    It is still a good movie with good actors, but not near my own top 30 and it has left dozens of better movies behind it on Imdb. Probably worth being on list, btu definetly in the second half.

    Se7en 8-/10

  8. Haha, saw it yesterday and it actually is better than I stated earlier :D

  9. It's a good movie, but I have to join those who'd say it's rather cliched (although tries hard not to be) and not all too surprising in the end. It was tense, but I wasn't wowed with it. 27 feels a bit too high.