When he realizes he's dealing with the Seven Deadly Sins, he does what few people would do, and goes to the library. There he looks into Dante's Inferno, Milton's Paradise Lost and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. It's not that he reads them so much as that he references them for viewers; it is often effective in a horror film to introduce disturbing elements from literature as atmosphere, and Fincher provides glimpses of Gustav Dore's illustrations for Dante, including the famous depiction of a woman with spider legs. Somerset sounds erudite as he names the deadly sins to Mills, who seems to be hearing of them for the first time.
Detective Lt. William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is about to retire. He is teamed up with a young new detective David Mills (Brad Pitt). Together they try to find a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his M.O. Meanwhile Mills' wife Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow) fears for her husband's life and is very depressed.Dark and depressing but just fascinating. Director David Fincher shots the entire film in dim light and shoves the victims mutilated bodies in our face. The grimness of the tone wears you down but that's appropriate considering the subject matter. No humor either. It all leads to a truly harrowing ending. There was supposed to be a happy ending but they (wisely) chose not to do it. Freeman and Pitt work very well together and both give excellent performances. I even thought Paltrow (who I hate) was good! Kevin Spacey is very good too in a small role.If you have trouble with blood, gore and disturbing subject matter stay far away from this movie. But if you can handle that, watch this one. It's depressing and unpleasant but riveting.
Two very different films about serial killers ruled Hollywood in the 1990s: 1991's SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, featuring Anthony Hopkins as the infamous Hannibal 'the Cannibal' Lecter, and this, David Fincher's masterpiece about a pair of New York cops tackling a perverted killer inspired by the seven deadly sins. SE7EN is an extremely stylish film that ended up inspiring dozens of copycats like RESURRECTION and THE BONE COLLECTOR: all of the films share a gritty-grimy style with depictions of unflinching violence, seedy backdrops and sleazy characters.Whichever way you look at it, SE7EN is a great movie. It has a pair of sterling performances from relative newcomers Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, playing stock clichéd characters: the young rookie and the older, wiser cop on the verge of retirement. Both Pitt and Freeman overcome their characters' conventions to make them believable people. Their quarry is Kevin Spacey, giving one of his traditionally disturbed portrayals as a sociopath with no inklings of good or evil. Much of the film is made up of police procedural elements, with the investigation of crime scenes, the following of leads and at least one fantastic chase sequence halfway through in which Fincher's direction is top notch. It's also blessed with a gruesomely dark twist ending which stays in your head forever afterwards.For what it's worth, I'd pick SE7EN over SILENCE every time.
Two homicide detectives are on a desperate hunt for a serial killer whose crimes are based on the "seven deadly sins" in this dark and haunting film that takes viewers from the tortured remains of one victim to the next. The seasoned Det. Sommerset researches each sin in an effort to get inside the killer's mind, while his novice partner, Mills, scoffs at his efforts to unravel the case.
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However, the film is not overly simplistic or one-dimensional in its portrayal of the "hero" and "villain" characters; there are some wrinkles. Though Hong Kuk-yŏng is Chŏngjo's unfailing friend in the film, hints are dropped as to his eventual fate, death in exile ordered by the king. The queen dowager, the chief "villain," correctly warns Chŏngjo of the danger of Hong's rapid rise to power, while Kap-su obliquely suggests the king take a concubine in order to produce an heir, the very crime for which Hong will eventually be sent into exile. As for Kap-su, the same man that nobly sacrificed himself to protect his fictive younger brother murders his adopted father to protect the king from the assassins, a morally-reprehensible act both at the time of the film's setting and in Korea today. "Bad" general Ku Sŏn-bok is persuaded to return to the king's good graces, and in the climactic battle during which Hong's military unit must protect the king, the rain renders their guns useless, just as Ku warned during the duel of words. Chŏngjo himself uses a bow, and to great effect, rather than a gun. Lady Hyegyŏng, to take another example, attempts to protect her son by using a young child as an agent of murder. She tasks ten-year-old palace maid-in-training Pok-ping (Yoo Eun-mi) with poisoning the queen dowager's food. Pok-ping breaks under the mental stress of the task and confides in Wŏl-hye, who is the queen dowager's agent. [End Page 459] Wŏl-hye eventually betrays the conspiracy in part to save Pok-ping's life, but not before she viciously denounces Lady Hyegyŏng for the immorality of using a helpless child as a pawn in her deadly game with the queen dowager. Nor is Chŏngjo himself a paragon of virtue. At the end of the film, Chŏngjo demands that the queen dowager not reveal the details of the assassination attempt; if she does, he coldly promises to execute not only her but her entire family, not a simplistically "heroic" act. Ch'oe Min-sŏng takes The Fatal Encounter to task for showing Chŏngjo in a "halo," in contrast to Everlasting Empire, which shows both his virtuous qualities and the underhanded tactics he used to maintain his rule.23 But this is a surface reading of the film. A more nuanced reading of The Fatal Encounter reveals more ambiguity than is immediately apparent, particularly in the dénouement. 2b1af7f3a8