121. Se7en

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Movie: Se7en

Release Date: September 22, 1995

Director: David Fincher

Starring: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow.

Tag Lines: “Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light.”

“Detective Somerset is looking for a way out. Detective David Mills is looking for a way in. Now, they’re caught in a game with a price of sin is death.”

“Seven deadly sins. Seven ways to die.

“Gluttony * Greed * Sloth * Envy * Wrath * Pride * Lust”

“Let he who is without sin try to survive.”

“Earnest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” I believe the second part.”

Relevance: Thanks to Madonna, I was a huge David Fincher fan. For those of you who don’t know, he directed the videos for “Express Yourself,” “Oh Father,” “Vogue” and “Bad Girl,” which happen to be some of my favorites by her. I was also a huge admirer of Brad Pitt from films like ‘Thelma & Louise’ and ‘Interview With a Vampire’ (see 223. Interview with the Vampire). I know that when I saw the trailer for ‘Se7en’ I was extremely intrigued, but for some reason I never saw it in theaters.

‘Se7en’ was a huge box office hit, eventually becoming the seventh (ironic) highest grossing film of 1995. It also garnered great reviews from critics and snagged a few award nominations that season. Word of mouth for the film was very positive and it remained at the number one spot in the United States box office for four consecutive weeks. I am guessing that getting married, moving to another state and starting a new job a few months prior to its release had me preoccupied. That’s all I can think of as to why I missed it in theaters. Luckily, the word of mouth about the film did not include spoilers when it hit my ears. When I finally saw it via home rental sometime in early 1996, I was completely floored.

The movie was brutal, dark and an extremely stylized piece of art, and I loved every moment of it. It was hard to believe that this was only David Fincher’s second theatrical film, the first being the less appreciated ‘Alien 3.’ It was brilliantly directed and literally took my breath away. I knew he was good from his work with Madonna, but ‘Se7en’ took him to a whole other level. He has since become one of my favorite directors of all time. This is his third out of four films to show up on my list of most influential movies of all time (check out 347. Zodiac and 304. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for the first two).

‘Se7en’ was a devastating, horrific serial killer tale like none I had seen before. It was moody and depressing but due to its brilliant screenplay and exquisite acting had me on the edge of my seat the entire two plus hours. As already mentioned, I was a fan of Mr. Pitt, but his performance in this film really solidified that he was more than just a pretty face. He and Morgan Freeman, another tremendous actor, had wonderful chemistry on the screen and I was enamored by both of their characters. Nothing though could have prepared me for that ending. When I had finished it that first time through, I felt emotionally drained and in need of a shower.

I purchased ‘Se7en’ on VHS as soon as I could and through the years have picked up both the regular and special edition versions of the DVD. This was more than just a movie for me, it was a master class in film making. I learned so much about the art of film from watching the movie, with or without audio commentary, and threw myself into all of the deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage and other extras the special edition version had to offer. When I like something, I dive in head first with eyes wide open.

‘Se7en’ has remained one of my favorite films by Mr. Fincher. I can’t say that I have watched it a lot over the years as it is quite heavy, but if I catch it on television once in awhile I will stop and watch it. It is definitely a film I hold in very high regards and one that I will never, ever forget.

Today’s Thoughts: “Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.”

I mentioned yesterday (see 122. Foul Play) that the past few days have been nothing but sunshine, happiness, bliss and laughter thanks to the movies that were showing up on this list. Then came today. Talk about a complete one-eighty. Even mother nature knew something was up as it was a dark, gloomy and rainy morning for me to sit back, not relax, and watch ‘Se7en.’

Despite its murkiness, ‘Se7en’ was a brilliant film in 1995 and remains so to this day. It is hard to believe that it is now twenty-five years old. Time sure does fly by in the blink of an eye. The film is as creepy and shocking as ever. Even though I knew where the film was going, I was still not prepared emotionally to see it unfold again. I completely lost it and started bawling. Who knew that a neo-noir psychological thriller would also be a Kleenex movie for me.

I blame some of those tears on the actors. What a magnificent trio of actors to have as your leads especially when all three deliver the goods. Morgan Freeman is always stellar and it is no surprise that he is superb as the soon to be retired William Somerset. Gwyneth Paltrow is both beautiful and heartbreaking in her scenes. She got me teary eyed earlier in the film with her scene with Mr. Freeman. When she started crying, I started crying. But super sexy Mr. Pitt really is the star of this epic tale. His character is arrogant, hot-tempered and a tad homophobic (some of his lines made me cringe), but he still made you care about him. That’s not an easy task to achieve. That emotional ending is some mighty fine acting and it is really what made me lose my shit today.

‘Se7en’ may not be a movie for everybody. I know for a fact that my mom had never seen the movie despite her loving all three of its actors. She despised everything scary. However, if you could stomach the gore (gluttony pun intended) and you are not squeamish, definitely give this very exciting thriller a whirl.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Film Editing, Richard Francis-Bruce (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay – Original, Andrew Kevin Walker (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, Kevin Spacey (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography, Darius Khondji (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Music, Howard Shore (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, Kevin Spacey (nomination), National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor, Kevin Spacey (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor, Morgan Freeman (nomination), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor Kevin Spacey (nomination), New York Film Critics Award for Best Suppirting Actor, Kevin Spacey (winner).

Ways to Watch: fuboTV, Philo, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, DVD Availability.

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