About 20 years ago, “Se7en” was released on September 22, 1995. In that year, I was not born at all. Until the first day in college, I finally began to witness how the sensation of watching classic films; especially this film as well. Critics always refer to this film as the best and most surprising plot-twist film in history along with “The Usual Suspects” in the same year. After the credit sequence, I’m still wondering why Somerset (Morgan Freeman) needs to quote a quote from Ernest Hemingway. Until then, the uniqueness of the second part quote is still late inside.
Long story short, “Se7en” was written and directed by an unknown writer and director. Indeed, we cannot leave the fact that Fincher once worked on “Alien³” which people really hate it. At the time, Fincher tries to find his real passion and trademark as a director. On the other hand, Andrew Kevin Walker at the time experiencing periods of despair. He wrote a story about a serial killer that uses the Seven Deadly Sins as a pattern. New Line Cinema was then interested in immediately buying the rights to the manuscript and film. The young man, David Fincher, was appointed. However, the studio is very doubtful and gets bizarre from the script which is the ending. They consider it too much if the ending was just so dark and depressive.
Fortunately, David Fincher accepted an offer to direct the film after reading the first draft of the text and rejecting the changes. The studio relented and they continued to produce the film. They also chose Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt to portray the two main characters. At first glance, “Se7en” is like a classic buddy cop formula. The premise is simple: a rookie and veteran detectives try to handle a serial murder case neatly arranged by the killer. Cannot change the facts, serial killer films filled Hollywood throughout the 90s since “The Silence of the Lambs”, another one of the greatest mystery and thriller movies ever.
The most interesting part of this film was Kevin Spacey, the killer as John Doe. Indeed, Kevin Spacey first appeared in the same year after casting Keyser Söze as the devil from “The Usual Suspects”. Because the film also, his name began to soar. In this “Se7en”, Spacey never appeared in the film promotional. His name is also never listed on the opening credit. At first, the studio, again, opposed this idea but Spacey insisted on asking for it. That decision finally added to the film’s shocking effect.
“Se7en” does have one of the most memorable endings, but it always haunts when talking about thriller movies. However, no one has ever thought that “what’s in the box” is the main key in this film as well. This film has an attractive background with a really dark tone. In a city without a name, let’s call it a metropolitan city, the rain never stops. Criminals are always there every day and make one of the “ghost” cities with the highest crime rates.
Darius Khondji’s cinematography explores the killing of these Seven Deadly Sins with various mysteries in them. As victims are shown, the two main characters are always in the corner. They never succeeded and felt hopeless with the case. As the movie ends, John Doe is like God, Somerset is like an angel, and Mills is like in judgment day; try whether he would end up in hell or heaven. It’s like the main character in “Oldboy” (2003) when the psychopath confronts the main character into two decisions.
“Se7en” has a unique title. Instead of the movie called “seven”, there is a number 7 in the middle. Like the 7 victims in this film, it becomes the main ingredient. 7 days of disclosure of the case, number 7 in the ancient literature, and 7 deadly sins. The victims of the Seven Deadly Sins also have a line connected to the others. Every minute, the film gets more interesting. Mills and Somerset have an interesting relationship. Initially, they were so awkward and cold when Somerset always doubted Mills. However, they finally understood and their relationship began to melt.
At first, I had doubts about why Fincher suddenly showed the psychopath right in the middle of the film to the end. But, as the movie ends, I know the reason. “Se7en” reconstructs a mystery genre into one unique but profound detail yet is still haunting ’till this day. Instead of showing buddy cop-style action with a lot of witty humor, this film filled with darkness and depressiveness. Fincher introduced this film to an uncompromised way. It represents all the disturbing and terrifying moments in one movie you can get. It’s one of those experiences, one of those movies, a hopeless cinema.
5 out of 5 stars.