It must rain a lot in hell. At least it does in Hollywood’s trumped up version of urban decay and incomparable death. Having felt completely sickened yet fascinated during my first screening of Se7en on a shoddy VHS copy, it’s surprising, now eleven years later, how classy and uneventful director David Fincher’s breakthrough film feels. Noted for it’s brutality and edginess at the time of release, Se7en comes across nowadays as completely standard, by the books, much like Morgan Freeman’s Det. Somerset. Not only has Fincher made more radical, if not altogether dumber renditions of similar stories (look no further than Fight Club), but the serial killer genre itself has moved in a completely different and ridiculous direction, one based on torture and apathy (the Saw Trilogy is a good example) instead of detective work and psychology. Se7en exudes a beautiful understanding of crime film iconography, even while hindered by it’s sometimes idiotic dialogue and pointless characterizations. Still, the rain pours, and we listen to the horrific banter of Kevin Spacey’s John Doe, a killer who will forever haunt audiences gullible enough to take his acting seriously.
Update: I’ve since recently watched the film again, and have no idea what I was thinking previously. It’s a near masterpiece that is in no way “standard.” 6/21/09