Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Movie Review #49: Seven

I'm pretty sure that the thing that kept me from watching this movie up to now was the fact that it's spelled SE7EN on the cover, which really ticked me off for whatever reason. It's on Netflix now, though, and the hook grabbed me, so here we are.

Short review: forget the dumb name. The movie itself is very good. It's also disturbing, with many scenes featuring dead bodies and lots of blood everywhere, though it's worth noting the that violence itself is not committed on-screen--this is a murder mystery, not a slasher film. If you've never seen it, go ahead and give it a shot and don't read the rest of this review. The ending is to good to spoil, and though spoilers don't bother me much, I'm glad that I didn't know the ending of this 20 year old movie going in.


As an older detective is getting ready to retire and a younger, hot-headed detective comes to take his place, they have to work together to find a serial killer who themes his murders around the seven deadly sins.


I spent a lot of this movie trying to figure out who the killer might be, and only gradually did I realize that this wasn't supposed to be a mystery I needed to solve personally. By the third victim all of the established characters had excellent alibis, which is funny because that's about the same time the real killer shows his face for the first time.

The killings were all very creative. Gluttony was a fat man who ate to death. Greed was a lawyer who had to cut a pound of flesh from himself. Sloth was a layabout who laid in bed for a year, barely living. Lust was a prostitute, ripped apart by a deadly strap-on. Pride was disfigured and given the choice between ending her life herself or calling for help.

Did any of these people deserve to die the way that they did? Of course not, but of course this movie had my favorite kind of villain: the one who might be right. His argument is that these people deserved their deaths because they represent everything wrong with society, yet society is so screwed up that these things have become normal, which is the most tragic thing of all.

He's both right and wrong. These deadly sins are indeed problems, but they are problems that often generate their own consequences. God doesn't require a crusader to fly in and judge people on His behalf, as the killer seems to be suggesting.

And, of course, his self-righteousness is belied by his murder of Mills' wife, who truly was innocent--and, if not her, then her unborn child. Though I'm going to kind of give the killer a pass on this, since that directly leads to his own death as Envy. Only Wrath walks away alive, spared as he was by the killer.

Brad Pitt surprises me yet again with his acting. For some reason I always just assumed he was a pretty face for the camera, but every time I actually see him act he shows me why I shouldn't make assumptions like that.

Meanwhile, Morgan Freeman does his thing, which is to be a sagacious old man. He does it well.

And, of course, Kevin Spacey knocks it out of the park.

Of the 49 movies I've seen so far this year, I think this one easily breaks into the top 10, maybe even the top five.

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