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Debate – Does It Hold Up: ‘Se7en’


Posted August 24, 2015 by

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Does It Hold Up: ‘Se7en’

I know what you are thinking right now. Do we even need this article? The movie Se7en is a classic in the eyes of the people that have seen it and love it. The answer is simple though. Yes we do. The basic principle of this article is to bring films to the next generation and make sure they can still have the same impact they did when these films first came out. This is the third article – My basis for these are movies that I am watching and introducing to people for the first time. This is the third movie and so far they have held up. Once again, this movie holds up, but for far more reasons than the first two. We are going to take a look at the director in this article, we are going to take a look at the material in this film, we will look at the acting in this film, and we will compare it to modern stories that are beloved that this one lives up to – then we can all answer if it holds up and if we want to watch for the first time or for the 10th time.

Let’s first focus on David Fincher. This is going to be a short paragraph because anything about Fincher is very concise and already there. My favorite story about Fincher comes from making Gone Girl. Ben Affleck knows how much detail Fincher pays to his movies, so he decided to mess with him and bet the film crew money that Fincher would not notice a very small margin of a change he made in one of the cameras. The filming started and Fincher nearly immediately yelled cut and wondered why his shot was not perfect. This is Fincher. Look at his films based on books and just very small details about the slightest of things. Fincher makes it perfect. Plain and simple. Please argue that with me. Please.

The material is next. If you look at Fincher’s work you will see a lot based on published material. He excels at that, but this is an original screenplay that became a book. I will start by saying that it became a book, because the details that Fincher possibly added…just made it better. A killer murdering people based on the seven deadly sins has never been tackled before. More importantly, the killer is hidden throughout the entirety of the movie – so we are the detectives. We aren’t the pawns in the murder scenes, we want to know who this is, but we have no suspects. Name one movie where you see no finger prints and no suspects – none. We have ZERO suspense of a killer until beyond halfway through the film when they find his house. When they find his house, he is a John Doe (literally his name) and nothing else. You have no one to root for or root against – you are a detective in this story. At this point of the story you cannot even put this movie into a genre. You have a murderer, so is it horror? You have a detective voice over, so is it Film Noir? You have a psychopath, so it is just suspense? You have no idea what it is you are watching. This is the brilliance of the plot and how everything comes together. You figure it out with them. It isn’t them before you or you before them – you aren’t smarter or dumber than the movie – it is you and them. Then the killer gives himself up. This is the turn of the movie and as he gives himself up – so do you. The brilliance of the last minutes of this movie reigns supreme in whatever genre you decide to put it in. You are just along for the ride. I do not like to plot hash or spoil in these articles – so watch it and play along.

The acting is superb in this film. I always will bring it around to one single person, but the collective cast is fantastic. Pitt plays a fantastic cop that is new to the area and is taking his first case. Some could argue he is a young actor at this time and has not found his chops – I will argue that he is playing a young detective in a new atmosphere and has never seen something like he is witnessing right now. Morgan Freeman plays a weathered detective who is ready to retire – and yes it sound like Freeman and it is Freeman – no more need said. Gwyneth Paltrow plays a small role as Pitt’s wife. Small role is extremely important in this movie. You only see her a few times, and you forget about her. She is extremely important and it is played perfectly. The best part is Kevin Spacey. This movie would not work without his performance. Cold, non-existent, purpose driven soul. That is all I can say. Nothing more and nothing less. Whenever I name Kevin Spacey movies to anyone, they never remember he was in this, but when you say Se7en they remember that performance. It is straight out of In Cold Blood. It is straight Spacey.

While trying to compare this movie to anything as of recent, I found that I cannot. There are always suspects in movies like this and everyone trying to figure out if they are doing it. There are films that have multiple suspects and then the killer is revealed, but there are very few where you sit there with the detectives and have nothing. Think long and hard of zero suspects, even suspected only by you and not the detectives – there are really none. The most recent is Nightcrawler, but he was suspected by audiences of doing the murders – he did not do them. This fits perfect in David Fincher’s genius. He does not take simple stories and make films about them. Zodiac is the best example of no suspects and Gone Girl is the best example of working as the detective. My opinion – these are the best two movies in the past 15 years that have the same vibe and truly give you David Fincher.

So I ask you, does Se7en hold up? Yes. Not all the movies that I do these articles on will stand up, but this is one I hit up recently and I found it holds up very well. The ending twist is absolutely fantastic, the acting is superb, and the details that David Fincher add to his work cannot be beat. If you have not seen Se7en, rent it. If you have seen it or own it, pass it on. Give them the rush of a fantastic detective story and suspense. If they have not met Kevin Spacey yet, this is the perfect vehicle to introduce him. He has lived from this and given so many fantastic roles. Fincher and Spacey deserve the recognition. They will always hold up. This movie will always hold up.


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Written by:

Drew and Champ

Drew Oliver
Alone In The Theater
Freelance Contributor

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