Se7en

Se7en ★★★★★

First review: letterboxd.com/thommy1801/film/se7en/

Procedural crime thrillers don´t get better than “Se7en”. There might be a few that match its quality (“The Silence of the Lambs”, “Memories of Murder”) but none that I know surpasses it.

There are so many aspects that set “Se7en” apart from other films of the genre. David Fincher´s mastery over aesthetic, mood, and suspense, the cinematography and lighting, the bleak and gritty tone, the religious theme of the murders, the disturbing sadism, the gruesome images, and even more so the horrible images it only creates in your mind without actually showing them. It´s over two hours of feeling extremely uncomfortable yet deeply fascinated at the same time.

The film follows a riveting serial killer investigation that leads us to unforgettably unsettling crime scenes and results in one of the most shocking and impactful movie climaxes of all time. And the entire time you have a feeling that you´re witnessing something more frightening and more profound than a typical series of murders. “Se7en” is a meditation on evil and how it lurks underneath the facade of civilization. It´s a universal statement, which is why the name of the city it takes place in is never revealed. But the city doesn´t need a name to be an engrossing character of its own. It´s an oppressive and morally corrupt entity that would depress you even without any murder. That it´s almost always raining further adds to the mood.

Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman both shine as the prime example of an unlikely detective duo, and I greatly enjoy their dynamic. Yet it´s Kevin Spacey as John Doe who uses his limited screentime to steal the show and become one of the most iconic movie villains ever. Spacey´s menacing presence combined with Doe´s intriguing characterization elevate the film from great to all-time great. This performance gives me the chills, no matter how often I´ve seen it.

Which brings me to the final point I want to make to explain why I consider “Se7en” a masterpiece. Procedural crime mysteries all lead to a big conclusion and if you know the conclusion, they usually get less effective on rewatches. This is not the case with this film. “Se7en” is endlessly rewatchable. On my fifth or sixth watch, it´s still as gripping, immersive, and harrowing as the first time.

There is tough competition, but “Se7en” remains my favorite David Fincher movie. In my opinion, it´s the pinnacle of its genre.

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