It has been 18 years since David Fincher’s ‘Seven’ was released to become one of the most influential modern psychological thrillers.
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker the idea for the ‘Seven’ screenplay was hatched from Walker’s disillusionment with New York while he was trying to make it as a writer.
The resulting film is a neo-noir set in an unnamed but terminally bleak city starring Brad Pitt (in one of his most impressive roles) and Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Ermey and Kevin Spacey fill the supporting roles to great effect.
In a nutshell, the movie is the story of newly transferred cop David Mills (Pitt) and the soon-to-retire William Somerset (Freeman).
They are homicide detectives who become deeply involved in the case of a sadistic serial killer whose meticulously planned murders correspond to the seven deadly sins: gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, pride, lust, and envy.
It would have been easy for ‘Seven’ to slide into good cop/bad cop territory but this never happens. There is good chemistry between Pitt and Freeman that sees them play the veteran and the rookie convincingly.
And the writing helps, Fincher and Walker have taken such stereotypical ingredients such as the cop pairing, the serial killer and the grim city and turned them into something fresh while maintaining a cohesive plot - no mean feat.
But don’t be fooled, ‘Seven’ is dark. Very dark. It is twisted and troubling and it’s not so much a film to enjoy as a film to experience.
All those techniques that filmmakers seem to use in abundance now - the faded tones, the angles, the close-ups and quick cutting to startling intense music - came to the fore here in ‘Seven’.
From the opening credits onwards this is a visual delight for anyone who loves cinema.
If you’ve got the stomach for it ‘Seven’ is definitely not one to be missed.