Friday, September 17, 2010

Inexplicable Movie Review: Se7en

'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.' I agree with the second part.
- Detective Somerset

The other day, it was dark, rainy and shitty outside, which always makes me think of one movie - Se7en. I first saw it five or six years ago, yet it made such an indelible impression on me that I never forget it when the weather turns. I love the performances in Silence of the Lambs, but Se7en takes that same sort of movie and adds a distinctive style that makes it even better.

I'm not really into gore, so I'm actually glad when the movie shows up on TNT, and I don't even own the DVD version. I'm sure that makes me lamer to say, but so be it! The movie is so dark and stylish that it doesn't even need the gore to be stunning and effective. (Note: It's at this point that I spoil a bunch of what happens in the movie, and if you do want to see it someday, I recommend you stop reading.)

Basically, Se7en works because it is so unrelenting in the darkness that the characters face, specifically Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and Tracy Mills (Gwyneth Paltrow). For the most part, Det. Mills (Brad Pitt) really is the embodiment of Wrath, bouncing around from scene to scene and reacting emotionally. However, you don't realize it until John Doe (Kevin Spacey) reveals it at the end of the movie. Somerset is the true hero of the movie, as you get the feeling that he's fighting against the oppressive nature of not only the city itself, but of his new partner as well. And Paltrow shines, in a literal way, as scenes involving her offer the only sort of brightness in the whole movie.

Part of the plot's darkness stems from how Se7en flaunts traditional movie conventions. Think of how little Somerset and Mills actually accomplish - They manage to track John Doe via his library card, but otherwise, the first victims are already dead and Mills becomes Wrath by executing John Doe. The movie's villain is John Doe, but instead of having him caught at the end, he turns himself into the police two-thirds into the movie, again denying the audience any satisfaction. There is a brief chase through a downpour, but otherwise, there is no action in the movie.

Se7en is just anxiety built upon anxiety, and it's so different to me from the conventional movie experience that it's great. I'm not much for completely experimental independent film - I thought Pi was meh - but anything shot in a different style (everything by Tarantino, Sin City, Scott Pilgrim, Memento) always catches my eye and attention. Se7en definitely qualifies in this respect.


  1. Completely agree. I haven't seen Se7en in quite a few years but it was amazing watching it the first time around. Now I really want to watch it again.

  2. When it is rainy and gloomy out I think of Se7en too. Did you catch the Tosh.0 where he gave the American Idol girls a web redemption and tried to reenact the last scene of Se7en but it didn't make any sense to the girls because they were to young to have seen it??? Hilarious. Kevin Spacey is my most favorite creepy killer!


  3. @ Gemma - I actually saw a DVD of it on sale at Walmart for $5 the other day, so there is that option. However, it was JUST the movie, which annoyed me, so I didn't buy it.

  4. @ M, M and I - I haven't seen that one, and now, I really want to :/ haha. I love Daniel Tosh, but I only catch his show infrequently, which I need to remedy.

  5. It is actually an amazing movie experience, no matter how many times you watch it. And the ending... oh the ending. WHAT'S IN THE BOX?????

    Indeed Brad Pitt... what IS in that box?

  6. Se7en is such a great classic. Dark, gritty and twisted. Two thumbs up from me.
    Happy Weekend! xo The Empress

  7. @ Christina - The first time I saw it, the "head in the box" thing totally surprised me. They keep it very well-hidden that it's a vindictive thing between Doe and Mills.

  8. @ The Empress - Thanks so much! The same to you. Try to stay out of the rain, because it's where John Doe lurks.


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