SE7EN (2-Disc Platinum Series)
Director: David Fincher
The question is if you can take this movie. What starts off as a gritty police drama turns out to pull you into the most deranged of investigations. It is no surprise, really, with the direction the film takes you, between the atrocities of the crimes being committed and the tired detective more than ready for retirement considering the beat he works on a daily basis. But it slowly draws you in to witness the ultimate sins of humankind. It is not predictable, but you can see how the game is being played out by the twisted killer they are trying to catch. For those unaware, the title is in reference to the seven deadly sins, and how what becomes multiple homicides is linked to this moral concept. That's about all I'll say for the plot.
This movie has everything going for it. A great (though disturbing) plotline, the perfect casting with Morgan Freeman as the experienced detective facing retirement (and not in a humorous, Lethal Weapon kind of way), the brash new rookie who wants to make a difference by Brad Pitt, his wife by Gweneth Paltrow. And, of course, there's, well, the perpetrator. There are no tired cliches to fill the uncomfortable gaps, because there are none. A bit of liberty is taken due to the short amount of time the story takes place in, but it helps fill out the characters and makes it that much more of a powerful story. Last but not least is the way the film looks. Fincher has always played a key role in how he wants his movies to look (well, duh! but that ain't always so, or so it seems), even down to the opening (and ending) credits. Of course you appreciate them even more second time around, but hey, it's his modus operandi. And for the look of the film itself, the style plays so naturally you can't even imagine the hell it must have been to actually shoot it that way. I hate to say anything more in fear of spoiling this movie for anyone who hasn't seen it, so I will leave it with the fact that this movie looks amazing throughout as well.
I highly recommend this movie to any who hasn't seen it. The only thing is, and I rarely do this because most movies suck in comparison for the realism that is played out, but this film has some truly grisly scenes. It's not overplayed for shock value, but they are there. While you never actually see the violence committed, you see its aftermath, which is in some ways that much more horrifying. It's a great crime drama that doesn't falter from looking at the terrible aspects of human nature through the eyes of some very mortal people.
DVD Notes: Excellent 2-DVD set put out by New Line in 2000, it has more than a little bit of everything, and all packaged well within the theme of the movie, even down to DVD-ROM content accessed through your web browser that has a copy of the screenplay that you can print out for yourself. Four audio commentaries, one with Fincher, Pitt, and Freeman that go over some of the actual production of the movie and some of the things encountered while making the film. The second is with various production people (screenwriter, editor, New Line president Michael De Luca, Fincher, and a professor of film studies) that goes more into discussion about the story itself and the aspects of doing a movie about a serial killer. I haven't had a chance to listen to the other two yet, but they explore the picture and sound aspects respectively. If they are like the first two, they should definitely be worthy of a listen as well. I want to note that a great amount of time and attention to detail was put into completely remastering the original film's audio and picture for this DVD transfer, and makes the film as a whole that much more enjoyable.
The second DVD is more for the true fans of film (as I look over sheepishly and realize I have the DVD playing on my computer's left monitor while typing this up on the right one). It looks at the alternate opening sequence, deleted scenes & extended takes, and alternate endings, production design, stills, and a nice little explanation on the actual creation of John Doe's notebooks, all with additional commentary. Trailer and theatrical EPK (kind of a prolonged trailer with some soundbites by the players), complete filmographies, and a great look at the mastering process they went through in making this DVD. If nothing else, watch this section on the 2nd DVD to see exactly what they had to go through, and how big of a difference it really makes. Last is the DVD-ROM content again accessed through pcfriendly, or if you're on a Mac you need to dig a bit in the folders to access it through your web browser, but again top notch presentation of materials about John Doe and the 7 deadly sins. If I could, I'd give just the DVD portion of this movie an official dmr 6-pack stamp of approval. Actually, I think I will...