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Darkness, ambience can't rescue predictable Seven


Directed by David Fincher.

Written by Andrew Kevin Walker.

Starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Sony Cheri.

By Benjamin Self

Ever since the movie Silence of the Lambs scared its audiences into a stress panic, psychological thrillers have been released at a phenomenal rate. Every movie season has its few, each which seem to follow the same generic pattern: cops who are either new or retiring are pitted against a mastermind criminal, who teases and underestimates the intelligence of police. Seven, directed by David Fincher and produced by Arnold Kopelston (Platoon and The Fugitive) does not fall short in this regard. It follows the genre perfectly, and unlike many of it's brothers and sisters, has little extra to make it special.

Starring Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) as a retiring detective and Brad Pitt (Legends of the Fall) as his replacement, Seven is hailed as both a powerful and suspenseful film with a stunning surprise ending. Unfortunately, it does not follow through with these promises. Although many scenes in the movie are filled with tension, other parts of the movie are notably lacking in substance. For example, the movie begins with an incomprehensible dialogue, and the film's conclusion is rather predictable.

The movie begins with two gruesome murders, one investigated by Freeman, the other by Pitt. The pair soon discovers through research of classic literature that the murders are being committed by a single mastermind who is planning to kill seven people, one for each deadly sin: gluttony, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and wrath. Through these murders, the criminal hopes to show society the evil it fosters. Of course, the two very different partners must bond together in order to outsmart this powerful criminal.

Seven does bring up a moral point that other psychological thrillers seem to leave out. It raises the question about the lack of morality in the world; unfortunately this idea does not pan out. Very little time is spent on this theme, which eventually becomes an afterthought rather than building toward epiphany. The movie does, however, offer a glimpse into the mind of a detective working the grim streets of a dark town.

The production values of Seven far outdo any other aspect of the movie. Scenes filled with darkness represent the moralistic undercurrents of the movie. The special effects and set are superb and the characters appear as real people instead of superheros. Badly needed was more attention to Seven's plot.