Directed by David Fincher [Other horror films: Alien³ (1992)]
In many ways similar to Silence of the Lambs, Se7en is one of those products of the 90’s that skims the waters of the horror genre. Personally, if it’s not been clear, I have a somewhat liberal view of what should be counted in the genre, and Se7en fits for me. Even if you don’t think it belongs, though, this movie is still a dark and often depressing masterpiece.
Rather moody and atmospheric (and perhaps too dark – the city, which always seemed to be enshrouded in gloom, was a bit much), Se7en has a lot of feeling to it. Once the killer comes forward and gives his reasoning for his actions, I suspect many out there would be sympathetic. The story’s tried and true also, with some solid twists.
An older, more-experienced cop (Morgan Freeman) partnering up with an often abrasive hot-head (Brad Pitt) always leads to some good scenes, and especially given the quality of the two actors in question, and it’s no different here. Freeman’s character is rather interesting, and has a depth to him, and while the same can be said for Pitt’s, Freeman was overall who I found myself consistently more interested in.
The story itself is overly solid also, and never really lets up. Plenty of potentially boring procedural sequences end up captivating due to, as aforementioned, the performances involved. The conclusion is a little shaky for a reason I’ll talk about in a bit, but overall, I don’t have any real complaints about the story here, other than that the city really did seem too grim (I mean, it’s not like this is Gotham).
Freeman and Pitt, who had mostly great performances, aside, there are plenty of others who stand out in this film. Kevin Spacey, who is perhaps one of my favorite modern day actors, does amazing here, with a fantastic calm, collected style and just steals the few scenes he’s in. Gwyneth Paltrow (who I know only from the MCU films) is an enjoyable presence also, though I sort of wish a bit more was done with her. Though small performances, both R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket and Mississippi Burning) and Richard Schiff (The West Wing) were nice to see also.
As alluded to earlier, I don’t think the movie’s perfect. Again, while I know the movie was going for a gloomy and depressing feel (that ending quote always stuck with me), the city just felt unrealistically bleak, at least in my opinion. Also, while I mostly liked Pitt’s character, the famous sequence at the end doesn’t feel like his best work. The way he screams, ‘What’s in the box?’ just felt almost silly and too over-the-top. It’s a great sequence overall, but his acting on those lines sort of dampens the otherwise dark feel.
On a side-note, I didn’t notice until I began writing this review that I’d seen most of director David Fincher’s movies, favorites of mine including 1997’s The Game, The Social Network, and Gone Girl. Though it’s not particularly relevant here, I do appreciate the versatility of his work.
Se7en is a great crime flick which, while not overly violent, does have enough material in it to maintain the interest of most horror fans. It’s a captivating movie with a great cast and some classic scenes. Kudos to both Kevin Spacey and Morgan Freeman for being the two best performances in the film.