Se7en (1995)

DVD Cover (New Line Studios Reissue)
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Overall Rating 83%
Overall Rating
Ranked #25
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Taking place in a nameless city, Se7en follows the story of two homicide detectives tracking down a sadistic serial killer who chooses his victims according to the seven deadly sins. Brad Pitt stars as Detective David Mills, a hopeful but naive rookie who finds himself partnered with veteran Detective William Somerset. Together they trace the killer's every step, witnessing the aftermath of his horrific crimes one by one as the victims pile up in rapid succession, all the while moving closer to a gruesome fate neither of them could have predicted. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: August 10, 2011
There are some genres of film that are harder to pull off successfully than others, and the thriller genre is right at the top of that list. Se7en pulls it off almost flawlessly.

The inner city is home to a seemingly never-ending display of brutality and depravity, and after thirty-eight years in the thick of it, it's definitely taken a toll on Detective Somerset, and he's eagerly looking forward to his retirement at the end of the week. Even with his career coming to an end, he's been given a new partner: Detective Mills, a younger man with an explosive temper who went out of his way to get transferred into the area. Their first case together is unlike anything either of them has either seen; a morbidly obese man was found dead in his apartment, having been forced at gunpoint to eat until the massive intake of food caused lethal damage to his organs. Somerset has been around the block enough to know that this is only the beginning of something big, something that he's not going to be able to solve in a week's time, so he requests to be taken off the case. Even so, he just can't bring himself to walk away, and after a closer inspection of the crime scene he discovers that the killer spelled out "Gluttony" with grease behind the refrigerator. What a coincidence! Mills' new case involves the death of a corrupt lawyer with the word "Greed" written on the floor in blood. Somerset quickly makes the connection and realizes just what's going on. This killer is more than just committing murder, he's preaching by punishing his victims with one of the Seven Deadly Sins they've committed. Gluttony. Greed. Sloth. Pride. Lust. Wrath. Envy.

Talk about a twisted affair. David Fincher and Andrew Walker sure knew what the hell they were doing here. Interestingly enough, while the plot as a whole focuses on the killer, he's a very small part of the movie itself until the final minutes. The focus is mostly on the two detectives, both on a personal/family level and on a career level, with one coming to a close and another just beginning. Both men of reputation, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are both up to the task. More on that later. Now, what makes this movie so effective is just how efficiently Fincher makes his killer reviling without even including him in most of the movie. Through the brutal nature of the crimes, the detectives' absolutely baffled helplessness in tracking him down, and the emphasis on his patience and dedication to his mission, we have a villain who's very MO is terrifying enough without actually including him. And when he finally does show his face, his identity adds a whole new layer of uneasiness. I'm not going to go into here, but I will say that the point is nicely lamp-shaded during the movie. Additionally, Fincher pulled no punches when it came to our victims, and as each death is particularly revolting in their own little way, it definitely added to the awe this killer is able to create. Top it off with an absolutely jaw dropping finale, and you've got one hell of a night in front of the TV on your hands.

The fuel to this fire is the performances given in by Pitt and Freeman. Again, the focus is more on these two than the killer. While they begin as unwilling partners, one seeing a new relationship as pointless and the other wanting to prove himself, the case quickly brings them together and their differences in family and detection methods bubble to the surface. Somerset is a grizzled veteran with no wife and Mills is a hot-tempered man beginning a family. The killer's influence is never far though, and the fear and astonishment at his brutality, as well as the different ways they hang on to their composure, is clearly shown by both actors. This human element is in stark contrast to the inhuman level of the killer's evil, and they both handle this balance beautifully. Especially the conversation where Pitt is taunting the killer, although sadly he does kind of lose it later on. Gwyneth Paltrow and R. Lee Ermey also have bit parts, and as you can imagine, neither of them disappoint either.

There is very little in the way of complaints here, really only two things come to mind. The first is the absolute meltdown of Brad Pitt's acting during the climax. Carey Elwes has absolutely nothing on him here, as Pitt brings laughably bad overacting to a whole new level. From his drawn out "Oh god"s to that awkward switching between what's supposed to be pain and fury. The whole thing puts a damper on what was not only an amazing scene, but also an amazing ending to a great movie. The other complaint isn't so much a complaint, just a sad truth, and it also deals with the ending. Namely, the second time you watch this movie, the ending lacks the same punch as it does the first time. And since it's not exactly an easy ending to forget, you can't even rely on that.

I can not recommend Se7en enough. 9/10 on the first viewing, 8 on subsequent, only because you lose the shock of that insane ending.
Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added August 10, 2011 at 11:50am
Awesome movie from start to finish.
OD #2: OD - added September 1, 2011 at 10:50pm
I can't love this movie enough.
George Snow #3: George Snow - added September 18, 2011 at 2:53am
Love this movie. I have the DELUXE Laserdisc version.
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