Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Movie Review: Se7en 4 ½ Stars

Former music video director David Fincher redeemed himself for Alien3 with Seven, a stylish and creepy detective film set in modern-day. Fincher’s vision of the present, however, is a rain-drenched murder capital approaching biblical Babylonia.

Into the filth and degradation of the big city, a self-appointed savior has come to bathe the unrepentant in the blood of the lamb. Starting with the sin of Gluttony, the messianic maniac (Kevin Spacey) begins to pick off victims that represent each of the seven deadly sins. He murders each -- the gluttonous, the slothful, the lustful, the envious, et cetera -- in a gruesome manner befitting the particular sin.

Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman), a stoic 32-year veteran of the force is set to retire in a week. But the detective has seen too much in his tenure. As soon as the grisly murders begin, he knows he has a serial killer on his hands and he can’t leave the case unclosed. Begrudgingly partnered with young David Mills (Brad Pitt), Somerset investigates the crimes to a chilling and painful conclusion, taunted along the way by the sadistic, sermonizing murderer.

David Fincher’s painfully grim film from a taut script by Andrew Kevin Walker boasts exceptional performances. Morgan Freeman delivers as the world-weary Detective Somerset, wrenching decades of police force pain out of the character. Kevin Spacey’s serial killer John Doe defines Kevin Spacey creepy. And Brad Pitt’s David Mills, at first a cocksure young detective, slowly unravels as he witnesses more and more horrors. Darius Khondji’s cinematography and the stunning visual effects from makeup artist Rob Bottin add to the overwhelming sense of doom and dread that pervades this terrific thriller.

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