Double Take: Se7en

If you haven’t seen the movie, this is a spoiler alert. Be cautious as I will be talking about the movie thoroughly including the ending.

This week I rewatched another David Fincher film Se7en. I was very excited to watch this film again. It has been too long. Sometimes I would see this on cable TV and I tell myself, “Don’t watch it, wait till you have time to watch the whole thing and unedited.” That time never came around but I own this movie and I guess now is that time to watch. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really understand the 7 deadly sins until I watched this movie. So there you go, movies can teach you a thing or two. I did watch this movie in theatres, but I was not old enough to go by myself. I remember there were a lot of things that i didn’t really catch watching it the first time because my movie sleuthing and detection wasn’t as good as it is today. Some of its meaning was a little lost on me but in the end I really enjoyed this thriller the first time around. Now that I am older and wiser, I have been very curious if I would pick more things I didn’t know before. 

Watching Se7en again was such a treat. The movie still hasn’t lost its touch. I have to give it to the writer Andrew Kevin Walker, who also wrote another gem close to my heart Brainscan. His writing was brilliant in creating such a unique mystery that was enjoyable to solve along with our two detectives on the case Mills and Somerset, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman respectively. For those that haven’t seen this movie, two detectives are paired up to solve a series of murders that seem to be connected to the 7 deadly sins, each death is done in a way to exploit the victim that has committed that very sin. 

If you think Saw is something that you are turned off by with the gratuitous amount of blood and gore,  Se7en is the solution.

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Some of the differences I noticed was that there was a bit of a comedic buddy cop chemistry with our stars. Their back and forth was great to watch. Think 48 hours with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte. Both different in their own way, so different they balance each other out. I understood the subtle clues left by the killer more clearly this time. John Doe, who the killer was known for in the film, was an early Jigsaw (Saw Series) He gave these victims a choice rather than force, there was rarely a time he committed the wrong doing himself. He allowed each person to continue their respective sin but in a deadly way. So if you are familiar with the Saw  movies than you will see that same kind of mission the killer was trying to accomplish. Kevin Spacey made a point to remove his name from the credits until the end of the movie to give his role as the killer a bit of mystery. Most killers are masked to be revealed at the end as one of the characters we are aware of. Since that wasn’t the case, not knowing the actor gave our antagonist more mystery. If you are good at identifying actors by their voices than you are good. He has been in movies before this film that would make him recognizable. When I saw the movie the first time I didn’t know him so that was a brilliant idea. 

I also had more of an understanding of the ending. Again, spoiler alert. Stop reading if you don’t want to know. 

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It was great to have Brad Pitt commit the final sin of Wrath. The killer taking the life of his wife and unborn child completed his mission of 7 deaths for each sin. The death of his wife and child was for Envy and Wrath. With the exception of holding a gun to each victim to force them into choosing to commit their own deaths, he never really killed anyone until he chose to be the sin of Envy and take her life. That scene has gone down in pop culture history as one of the most recognizable and heart wrenching scenes. It was genius that the killer chose Mills to be his Wrath. Watching this movie again you get hints that he would be used as a part of John Doe’s mission. Brad Pitt showed plenty signs of over zealous anger. The scene with the photographer/killer encounter. His quick response to meeting Morgan Freeman’s Somerset with so much defense. So quick to get angry or offended. His lack of following the law when the decision had to be made in entering the suspects home without cause. Throughout the movie he was being tested and the final test was can he hold in his wrath and bring a man to justice without committing the final sin of killing the man who is responsible for all of the murders as well as his wife’s. 

I have much more respect for this film as this was an effective mystery to be played out in front of our eyes. It was gritty, raw, and real. It is pretty bloody but its done in a smart way that is relevant to the film and not done for shock value. Also gives many analytical reasons to discuss the moral dilemma of our characters. Giving up on mankind and the possibility that our cities can be saved from crime and violence. Taking another mans life to avenge a loved one. etc. The two leads were great working together. I was very impressed with Brad Pitt’s work. It was also interesting to see their Capt. played by actor R. Lee Ermey play a character that wasn’t yelling at the top of his lungs. He was the softest voice character in the whole movie in my opinion. This movie is still great to watch even though it’s over 20 yrs old. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend watching this movie to see great work from Fincher once again directing an effective thriller. If you think Saw is something that you are turned off by with the gratuitous amount of blood and gore,  Se7en is the solution.

5 out of 5

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