Cinerama: Seven

Posted: September 12, 2009 in Cinerama


By Mike Derdcrian

Over the many years of my petty existence I have been dubbed many names some were accurate and some weren’t. I was called the freak show; the nerd; the hermit; lard face; the shy guy; scarface and the angry man with a chip on his shoulder.

A few weeks ago I was surprised to find out that I now have a new nickname: The persecuted one. Someone told me that my character appears to be enveloped within a light sense of persecution. I did not know what to answer her. Was she right? I don’t know but I know one thing and that from among the seven deadly sins—which are lechery, gluttony, wrath, pride, sloth, avarice and envy—I have two.

Pride and wrath are my greatest sins. How did I come to such a conclusion? Well, I was more than once called the arrogant one and I have a temper that would make the Hulk look like a schoolgirl. It comes with the character they say but I believe that a person molds his own personality and to be honest I am quite happy with mine. There is nothing special about me more than any one else out there in the world but I know one thing: I have a very strange mind, which is why I chose to write about David Fincher’s devilish thriller Seven.

Seven is dark, haunting, brutal and disturbingly brilliant; it doesn’t fail the audience at any level and one can easily say that this is a movie that delivered the goods. In the core it demonstrates how misinterpretations can lead to traumatic if not fatal results—the gravest of which befalls society and innocent individuals.

A series of grisly murders that appear to be the work of a serial killer, who is driven by a moral-religious impulse, puts the human nature at question. Two detectives are assigned to the case, veteran Detective Lieutenant William Somerset (Morgan Freeman), who is about to retire, and Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt), who is being assisted and trained by Somerset.

Both Freeman and Pitt gave a remarkable performance—power performance is a more description—and were able to capture the spirit of their characters by the inch. Somerset is old and wise, whereas, Mills is fiery, tough and cocky.

Somerset and Mills complement each other and are almost in synch until the balance falters with devastating effects. Just like in chemistry the strongest substance overcomes the weaker, which in humans is quite the same.
Despite of her short screen presence Gwyneth Paltrow, who portrayed Tracy Mills, the wife of our tough detective, provided a well-built supporting role that allowed us in turn to dig deeper into the personality of her husband.

The bleak ambience of this film that certainly set the standard for many films of the same genre in the years that followed like Fight Club (1999) and Saw (2004) helped amplify the grim nature of the storyline and dialogue.

With mid-tempo action the plot begins to slowly unravel but Fincher and Andrew Kevin Walker, who wrote the film, brilliantly decided to keep the perpetrator of these crimes in the shadows. Which is why I will do the same but I will give you his screen name and that’s John Doe.

In one scene John Doe explains, in utter revulsion, the reason he chose the people he murdered by saying, “a woman so ugly on the inside she couldn’t bear to go on living if she couldn’t be beautiful on the outside. A drug dealer, a drug dealing ********, actually! And let’s not forget the disease-spreading *****!”

Such a statement doesn’t make any sense to us but to a person, whose brain has gone haywire, it makes a lot of sense. Here is a different interpretation: No woman wishes to be a prostitute. A woman who is forced to sell her body finds no pleasure in what she does but society thinks otherwise. When a group of Pharisees brought Mary Magdalene to Jesus demanding that she be stoned he answered, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Now, the seven deadly sins—speaking in a modern day terminology—are one-way-tickets to hell. One gaze at today’s societies and person would realize that all people have earned tickets; however, by hard labor and faith they can get rid of them. If you have read Everyman, which is a medieval moral play, you will understand this part of Cinerama.

Within the span of 127 minutes the viewer is exposed to graphic images of murder, fowl language, great acting, moments of anger and frustration especially near the finale when two of the seven deadly sins are committed.

Must-see-scenes: Any scene involving the characters of Pitt and Freeman; when police discover John Doe’s apartment and start to read his journals; when Mills chases John Doe through the fire escape under the rain; the gruesome murder scenes—especially the scenes involving the man whose sin was sloth plus the man and woman who are accused of lechery, which is the most harrowing.


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