Seven (1995)
New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey

David Fincher’s suspenseful thriller grips you, leaving you speechless and pondering once the end credits have finished rolling. With its dark and morbid atmosphere and the uncompromising down-beat ending it will leave the you thinking about what just sped by them. "Seven" is a homicide thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entirety of its 127minutes, and it will not fail to impress its disturbing mood upon you.

"Seven" features Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as a pair of homicide detectives on a quest to solve a mysterious series of murders. Lt. Somerset (Freeman) is a burnt-out veteran cop on the brink of his retirement when he is teamed up with his replacement, an ambitious and fervent Brad Pitt as Detective David Mills. Two worlds collide as they struggle to accept each other even as a serial killer haunts the streets of this unnamed city, taking upon himself the burden of the Hand of God. He commits various creative punishments on people he feels exemplify the nature of the seven deadly sins. It takes all of the detectives’ experience and effort to track the bloody trail of John Doe (Kevin Spacey), who in turn enjoys toying with the cops, placing clues as part of his deadly vision.

Fincher’s world is dark and gray through most of the movie and destroys any hope you might have for this urban civilization. Even the opening credits are murky, jerky, near-subliminally interspersed with disturbing crime-scene photos. Drenching rain is falling from depressingly cloudy gray skies for most of the movie, underscoring the unhealthy nature of this picture. "Seven"’s claustrophobic urban world rustles with cockroaches, filled with piles of rotten junk. When the scenes begin to brighten and we move into broad daylight, it is only for the most gripping climax suspense cinema has seen in a long time, revealing the dark, masochistic soul of the killer.

One has to admire Brad Pitt’s taste in picking his parts. It would have been so easy for the former Levi’s model to make a career as a clean-cut teen idol a long time ago. Instead, Pitt repeatedly surprises by picking characters that show him in different lights, from the handsome ("Legends of the Fall" or "Interview with the Vampire") to absolutely abhorrent ("Kalifornia"). "Seven" probably lies somewhere in between with its unpretentious portrayal of characters.

"Seven" is presented only in a <$PS,letterboxed> format and unfortunately the movie has been split onto two sides of the DVD disc. New Line decided to take that step in order to avoid <$pixelation,pixelation> of the movie. Dark movies with such difficult lighting and contrast conditions present various pitfalls for the transfer process and in order to avoid compression artifacts, need arises to go hard on the compression. I am absolutely happy with New Line’s decision to give the customer the better picture as opposed to the somewhat secondary, increased comfort. Mind you, "Seven" is not a slick looking movie. It was never intended to be, and the DVD transfer faithfully sticks with the director’s intentions. Fincher even used a special silver retention process on the original film material to increase the overall contrast.

The disc offers both a <$DS,Dolby Surround> and a <$DD,Dolby Digital> 5.1 soundtrack with the 5.1 soundtrack clearly being the better choice. It is a highly dimensional cacophony of sounds and noises perfectly matching the visual moodiness of the film.

"Seven" is dubbed in English and French and also offers English, French and Spanish subtitles, all of which are selectable from the disc’s interactive menu..

Despite its shocking somberness and violent content, "Seven" is not overly graphic. The murders happen off-camera and all we see are the gruesome crime-scenes, with most of the details left to our own imagination. It is a brilliantly staged thriller with lots of suspense and an incredible climax, with more psychological thrills than gory visuals. Even though the theme about the Seven Deadly Sins is not exactly an original one and many of "Seven"’s elements are familiar from other movies, the script itself is clever and fast paced with enough twists to keep you surprised. "Seven" is simply as good as suspense cinema can get.