Saturday, October 31, 2009


Yes I'm a bit late in seeing half these movies....that's half the point I suppose.

Anyway, as most people already know (as I did) Seven is a disturbing psychological thriller starring Brad Pitt (David Mills) and Morgan Freeman (William Somerset). More importantly, it stars Kevin Spacey (yay) who is always great, even when he's playing a chilling, bald psychopath called John Doe. John Doe decides to kill seven people in seven days in seven ways using the seven deadly sins - culminating at, you guessed it - 7pm on the seventh day.

I'm not a huge fan of psychological thrillers because so many of them are fluff, but this one was *good*. The smaller parts (and by this I mean onscreen time) are well acted and reasonably well developed. Paltrow was truly lovely as Tracy Mills. She was immediately likeable and sympathetic, not the usual bland and forgettable 'wife' character whose name you don't even notice. Spacey, as the killer, was good of course. It's a fine line to walk when playing someone as sadistic as John Doe, he needs to remain just that little bit understandable for it to work.
And frankly you have to like it just a little when the killer plays the 'chorus' for a few minutes and you're a wee bit silent because *some* of the stuff he says in between the crazy talk, is true.

Seven is mostly about how crap the world is. Somerset, Mills and John Doe are like a triangle of reaction to this crapness. Mills is the typical gungho, slightly naive, leap before you think type who still ultimately believes it isn't all quite so bad, Somerset is like one big sigh of resignation and John Doe is 'screw that, let me show you just how bad it really is and let me enjoy showing you'. In other words, you can fight it, stop caring, or go insane. Or in the case of Seven, fight it until those who've already gone insane, break you down.

Is it all really this much doom and gloom? Well yes. No one wins except maybe John Doe just a little, and the world really is full of people overdosing daily on those seven deadly sins. Of course it's also about perspective - Doe's insanity means he can't quite understand that being a little vain, being overweight and being a hooker, is not quite as bad as torturing and maiming to make a point about how nasty we all are.

Unlike most movie killers, Doe doesn't have a backstory or an identity. He literally skins himself so he has no fingerprints, he's that gungho about remaining all mysterious. The lack of backstory works because of our very annoyingly human need to know why why why.... the fact we can't even really begin to understand how someone gets to be like this makes him more terrifying, not less. Interestingly it is Mills (Mr. Enthusiasm) who doesn't care why, whereas Somerset (Mr. Sigh) always has. Perhaps we all walk the same triangle and end up at different points depending on what happens to us or where we are in life.

Overall, Seven is a great movie - gruesome, cerebral and chilling in all the right places.

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