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Sep 7, 2010

30 dAyS oF cRAzY: Se7en

David Fincher's Se7en kind of caught moviegoers by surprise. It was an engrossing premise that was intermittently gruesome and brutal, but it was also shockingly excellent. Today, Sebastian looks at just what made it so good.

Stay tuned throughout September for nuttiness and zaniness of all varieties - click here for the full lineup, and click here for prior entries (which won't do you much good today, what with this being the first - madness!).

So, serial killers! Ummm... how to phrase this without sounding like a psychopath... Though they are the most disreputable of people, serial killers have proven to provide damn good material for movies! Don't believe me? Alright, how's this? Dirty Harry, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, American Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and Death Proof! Foolish, uninformed human! Movies about serial killers are some of the most interesting! They prove to be such terrifying foes for the men and women hunting them, and nowhere is this quality better realized than in Se7en. This 1995 thriller is one of the most haunting, intense, and downright terrifying serial killer films. It's also sensational, with a brilliant atmosphere, strong writing, a sadistic mindset that pulls no punches, and some seriously solid acting! This one will fuck you up, but you'll love for precisely that reason!

What horribly deranged murder are we gonna try an solve today?

Se7en chronicles one week in the lives of two detectives. Sommerset is a disgruntled veteran who has one foot out the door! Mills is the new hothead on the block! These two are paired to work together investigating a string of grisly murders. As soon becomes clear, the deaths are linked, and soon Mills and Sommerset are hunting for a serial killer with a truly demented pedigree. He kills people based on the seven deadly sins. Example: The victim of gluttony is force fed to death! As the bodies start to pile up, and the list of sins becomes smaller and smaller, Mills and Sommerset race to find the man behind it before he finds them!

It's your standard hunt for the killer movie, but the way it's handled makes it stand out so much from the rest of the pack. For starters, we don't see the actual killer until well within the movie, and even then, we don't see his face! We never see a murder in progress, only the aftermath! It's better this way, in my opinion! The crime scenes are so disturbing and horrific that it is actually scarier when we don't see the act. It gives us the opportunity to imagine how brutal it actually was. Well, that and I'm pretty sure this would have gotten an NC-17 if any of the murders had been shown! The story moves at a breakneck pace, keeping us wrapped up in the tension and urgency of the case! It's a pretty long movie, but the two and half hours that it lasts will fly by!

Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt play Sommerset and Mills, respectively! As Sommerset, Freeman is a passive, grizzled man who is disillusioned with all the brutality in the world. He is retiring, and cannot wait to do so! Freeman perfectly captures the essence of this man, always staying calm and collected even when things are blowing up in his face! Pitt as Mills, on the other hand, is the polar opposite! Mills is a hotheaded new kid who has no time for books or research, but is all for going out and finding the son of a bitch behind the killings! Pitt commands the screen, nicely balancing out Sommerset's passiveness with impatience and anger!

Gwyenth Paltrow plays Mill's wife, Tracy! She doesn't have much in the way of screen time, but her role is incredibly important in the grand scheme of things. R. Lee Ermey plays Mill's and Sommerset's police captain! He doesn't have much to do, and is only on screen for twenty or so minutes, but, he does a good job nonetheless!

The one who steals the show, though, I'm sorry to say, I can't talk about! For the people who haven't seen this movie, I do not want to spoil it for you! The person who plays the killer is, far and away, one of the most terrifying characters I've ever seen on film! That's all I'm saying! He'll give you the willies!

This has been a crazy week!

Se7en is the directorial debut of David Fincher. Ok, technically, that's not true, but even Fincher hates Alien 3, and, as such, has removed it from his filmography! Who are we to judge? He really comes into his own as a force to be reckoned with with Se7en. He brilliantly creates a atmosphere of dread, terror, and hopelessness, giving an already heavy movie that much more weight! Fincher does a great job directing his actors so that they stay true to the disturbing nature of the story, but not going so far that it's uncomfortable for the audience! There are some pretty funny moments throughout the thing that do wonders to alleviating our stresses! They are few and far between, but welcome, nonetheless!

And finally, there's the disgusting aspects of Se7en, which are in a league of their own! Sure, Saw and Hostel are gory and whatnot, but they do not even hold a candle to the fucked up shit you'll see in Se7en! You'll squirm uncomfortably when you hear about the victim of greed; you'll cringe at the sight of the victim of lust; you'll grab the arm of the person next to you when you see the victim of sloth! And then, there's the ending! HOLY SHIT, the ending! Just when you think all is well, the killer caught and such, Fincher pulls the biggest fast one ever and delivers and ending that will beat you like a punching bag and leave you weeping pitifully in the corner! It's positively mind blowing!

The film looks great, the characters all feel real, and the grisly aspects pull no punches! This is a terrifying, nightmare inducing movie, but, it is also tightly made, wonderfully nuanced, and brilliantly realized! Serial killers are demented people! No where is that more apparent then in Se7en! This is the film that, in my opinion, all other serial killer films should hope to live up to! It's a bloody disgusting masterpiece!

Tomorrow: Back on schedule with The Dream Team, via Insight Into Entertainment's Jess.

9 people have chosen wisely: on "30 dAyS oF cRAzY: Se7en"

Sebastian Gutierrez said...

Oops! Something's up with the pictures! Is that just happening to me?

Fletch said...

Gah! They looked fine in Compose mode, but obviously not after. I've got them looking pretty good now.

Castor said...

Love Se7en, one of my very favorite crime thriller of all time and probably Fincher's masterpiece in my eyes. He builds such an intense and creepy atmosphere throughout and the story is wonderfully told. Kevin Spacey is absolutely pitch-perfect as John Doe, a bad guy who for once, is always in complete control of the situation from beginning to end.

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Bonjour! Fletch...
I have never watched the film Se7en, the subject matter frighten or rather it's way too grisly for me, but I must admit that this review is very interesting.

What a very well-written and very detailed review of the film Se7en.

Oops! Least we forget the "mother" of all serial killers...Norman/Norma Bates.

Merci, for sharing!
DeeDee ;-D

Fitz said...

I still have to get my significant other to see this. She's pretty sure I have a crash on Pitt with this, Fight Club and Assassination of Jesse James on her must-see list.

MovieNut14 said...

This scared the crap out of me. 'Nuff said.

Peter Eramo said...

Nice write-up, Sebastian and excellent choice to write about for this Blogathon. Good not to put any spoilers here for those who have been living under a rock and have yet to see this great work. It is one of the better films about serial killers with one of the greatest endings. The chemistry between Freeman and Pitt is a good one, though at times, forced. I like your commentary on Fincher here too - hadn't realied he hated Alien 3 so much. Hahaha....

oliveobrien1978 said...

Great write up. This movie gave me nightmares for months afterwards and the acting is superb.

Liam [Less Than Three Film] said...

Nice summation! It is a great film, and possibly one of the best serial killer films out there.

Totally demented but totally awesome.