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Seven

Seven

By Patrick Samuel • July 6th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
SEVEN (MOVIE)
New Line Cinema

Original release: September 22nd, 1995
Running time: 129 minutes

Director: David Fincher
Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker

Cast: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey

Seven

If we believe in good, we must also accept there’s evil. The universe, we’re told, likes this delicate balance, but sometimes we wonder why there’s so much evil around us… Surely the scales must have tipped at some point? We only need to look outisde to see the truth in this statement and question this so-called ‘delicate balance’, and if the daily news is anything to go by – we’ve long passed the tipping point.

Seven is the age-old story of two detectives trying to catch a killer, but its direction, along with the writing and performances, make it something much, much more. With just seven days until his retirement, homicide detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is paired up with his new replacement, David Mills (Brad Pitt), a young hot-head who’s just moved to the city with his wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow). Immediately, Somerset and Mills know it’s not going to be an easy week.

They start to investigate a series of murders and soon realise they’re after a serial killer whose patterning his kills on the seven deadly sins; gluttony, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and wrath. The first victim they find is in a broken down trailer, an obese man who’s been tied to a table and force fed until he bursts. The next is a lawyer who represents greed; he’s been bled to death. The third is a paedophile; they find him in a near skeletal state and still clinging to life after being tied to his bed for a year.

As they work their way through the other cases it’s lust that’s the most shocking. The victim is a prostitute, killed by a man who was forced to wear a strap-on dildo with a blade as he had sex with her. Questioned by police afterwards, the man remains in a catatonic state as he relieves the horrific ordeal in his mind.

Seven

Determined to catch the killer, Mills disregards the rules when it comes to search warrants, but it earns him and Somerset a firm lead. They needn’t have bothered though, the killer walks into the police station freely and gives himself up, offering to take them to the last two victims; envy and wrath.

Seven is a dark film, not just thematically, but visually. The city’s drenched in rain and shadows. Buildings, offices, stairwells and alleyways are in a constant state of decay and neglect. This extends to the majority of the characters; their souls, hearts and minds are in the same state. There’s a feeling of hopelessness, as if they’re all in Dante’s Inferno but don’t yet realise it. Even Mill’s apartment can’t escape it and it’s something that Tracy senses, confiding in Somerset that she hates being there.

The opening credits are as memorable as the rest of the film. Set to the groaning mechanical beats and pulses of Nine Inch Nail’s Closer, it captures the mood Sevenfor the duration of the film and it’s something many films since then have tried to mimic to lesser effect.

In terms of a neo-noir thriller, Seven is one of the best examples I can think of along with Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct (1992), David Lynch’s Fire Walk with Me (1992), David Cronenberg Naked Lunch (1991) and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994). There are some familiar film noir elements to them all as they all manage to bring a layer of darkness that the noirs of the 40’s and 50’s didn’t dare to because of restraints enforced by the Production Code.

Seven manages to blend hopelessness, despair and a deranged killer’s obsession with a city on the brink of drowning in an existentialist crisis, while questioning the balance of good and evil in us all and whether or not the scales have been tipped for some time now.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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