“Se7en” is a psychological thriller written by Andrew Kevin Walker and directed by David Fincher. It debuted on September 22, 1995, and with its talented cast and plot twisting screenplay, it promised to take the box office by storm.
Since the premiere of “Se7en,” Fincher has gone on to direct some of cinema’s greatest films: “Fight Club,” “Panic Room,” “Zodiac,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and award winning “The Social Network. By looking at the tones and themes of his films, it is clear that Fincher isn’t afraid to delve deeply into dark and controversial themes and intricate, emotionally tortured characters. As his filmography proves he loves to deal with violent, dark, really emotional films that hook the audience. Films that actually have a meaning behind all the production that happens outside the camera.
Se7en was the film that started this sort of trend for David Fincher. Since the release of “Se7en” we were able to see a drastic change on the genre of thrillers, an analysis of the narrative in “Se7en” will reveal how this was accomplished. This paper will be focused on the narrative and the genre of the film, and I’ll be able to do this by watching multiple times the film, an audio commentary on the making of the film, and also by reading the script. The Thriller genre can overlap sometimes with other genres like adventure, crime, psychological, even science fiction. Se7en” particularly overlaps the thriller with the crime genre. Thrillers are often characterized as films with a unique and solo protagonist, or a small group of heroes who need to get together in order for them to defeat a remarkable and superior enemy.
“Se7en” utilizes this aspect of the genre in a very unique and mysterious way, lead by two male co-protagonists, Detective Somerset, a veteran cop about to retire, and Detective Mills, a relatively new cop who gets Somerset’s job, played by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt respectively. The two of them need to gather their differences in order for them to solve the very bizarre case led by a serial killer who goes by the name of John Doe. Thrillers use really often the motif of death, this being what drives the principal characters on the film. Se7en utilizes death, compared with other thrillers, in a very unique way. John Doe, portrayed by the brilliant Kevin Spacey, is a serial killer, but he isn’t one of the bunch.
He utilizes the seven deadly sins as the motifs that drive him forward, and puts him in a severe confrontation with Detective Somerset and Detective Mills. The film starts in a very peculiar and original way. The film opens with Detective Somerset in what we guess is his apartment, he is alone, getting ready for work. The opening sequence has become somehow iconic and without it Se7en wouldn’t be the same, Right after this we are presented with the first murder, we just don’t know how it happened. Detective Mills comes into the scene and presents himself to Detective Somerset, and the audience, as we can see from the camerawork. Rain is also present throughout the film, indicating a more somber and somewhat sad tone to the film.
We then jump into a opening credit sequence, which seems pretty standard, but this wasn’t your ordinary opening credit sequence, it got several elements that made it somehow creepy and mysterious at the same time. The opening credits sequence was highly regarded at the time due to its unique style, and it can be count responsible for future opening credits sequences that were highly influenced by David Fincher “Se7en”’s masterpiece sequence. The music, played by the industrial rock band “Nine Inch Nails,” kicks in right away and gives the audience a general sense of uneasiness. The introductory musical score reveals a glimpse of the upcoming tone of the movie.
The full opening sequence is shot with various flashed images, presumably of John Doe’s hands, text fading in and out. Some red and blue tones are also present giving us somehow a sub-theme regarding blood and and a state of innocence later in the film.
David Fincher. Perf. Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kevin Spacey. New Line Cinema, 1995.
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