Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Se7en (1995) – Classic Review


As a child, there was a popular television program that aired before school and that I thoroughly enjoyed.  The program was called “In the box”, a show that’s premise is quite self explanatory given the title. Being an enormous fan of the cheesy children’s program, I was very familiar with the question “what’s in the box?”.
It’s fair to say that this phrase is the only similarity between the television show and David Fincher’s 1995 harrowing murder mystery, let’s hope so at least…

As you may have already read, David Fincher is my all-time favourite director, and “Se7en” is not only my favourite Fincher picture, it is my all-time favourite film.
Fincher is the modern master of the thriller genre in my opinion, “Se7en” is enough to prove this. The majority of his works have been captivating and enthralling above all else, and even his latest, “Gone Girl” solidifies him as a filmmaking extraordinaire.
I have written about why “Se7en” is my all-time favourite film and I mentioned heavily how the overall ‘experience’ of the film made it what it is for me.
The only way the film could have been better introduced to me was if I had seen it upon release in the cinemas, however, I dare say the 2-year-old Billy would not have received it as well as I originally did…


The plot is fantastic; a serial killer bases his malicious and meticulous murders around the seven deadly sins, them being gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, wrath, pride and lust. Rookie cop Mills (Brad Pitt) and experienced detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) set out to solve these anticipated, formulaic murders and catch the intelligent culprit as soon as they can; the only problem is, the killer appears to be several steps ahead of the game at any given moment.
In what is one of the greatest cinematic climaxes of all time, “Se7en” escalates in spectacular fashion and explores character, location and suspense like few films of the similar genre – this is definitive of the modern crime/mystery genre for sure!

Upon re-watching it just last night (a big mistake before bed), there are subtle nuances and features that pop up with each new viewing.
For instance, the dingy, gothic and unappealing location of the city is never revealed; the characters always refer to the city as “this place” or “here” – it’s fantastic that the audience have no clue where this run-down, crime-ridden city is. Mystery is all around this film, even the number 7, if you keep an eye or ear out for it.

se7en-1David Fincher is meticulous to state the least, and if something is noticed within one of his films that you feel may be farfetched, don’t doubt yourself, he would have hand picked that particular object or frame for a reason. “Se7en” is full of little surprises and ‘easter eggs’ and it makes the experience enhanced immensely.

This picture is brutal beyond belief. I don’t particularly like overly gruesome pictures, especially when they’re outrageously gory without reason. “Se7en” is bloody, off-putting and incredibly disturbing, but it all fits in with the stylistic and gothic feel of the picture and story. The gore, the mess and the brutality all have a place within the picture, and I feel like that is why I can accept it all so well.
The savage murders aren’t just random acts of violence, they have been crafted and executed with precision and a purpose – to send a relevant message about society and one man’s opinion on how backwards it is. The script, the performances and the overall journey are flawless!

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 1.04.08 am

The chemistry between Pitt and Freeman is so engrossing, and when hearing stories regarding the ending and their input into keeping it the way it was meant to be makes me appreciate their efforts even more as I feel they had a solid and passionate investment in the film. Gweneth Paltrow is also superb. She is able to convey a sense of insecurity and facade-like mannerisms throughout her performance and this makes for a wonderful supporting contribution.
Kevin Spacey is also excellent as John Doe, and that is all that needs to be said regarding him, the rest should be a surprise, trust me!

I feel as though words cannot justify this film properly. It’s my favourite film and I cannot pay enough respect to it. It’s dark, brooding and harrowing beyond compare and it will remain a defining picture of the murder mystery genre for decades to come. “Se7en” is a must-see for any mystery/thriller fan or just anybody interested in witnessing how a perfect film is crafted and executed.
David Fincher is at his best with this picture, especially seeing as though it was released after “Alien 3”, a film in which Fincher has claimed no ownership of, given the simply awful experience he endured whilst creating it.
Quoted as saying (post-Alien 3) “I thought I’d rather die of colon cancer than do another movie”, we are truly grateful that he continued on – “Se7en” is a modern masterpiece that twists, turns, attacks and affects you!

Prepare yourself for this one!



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