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20th Anniversary of Se7en (1 Viewer)

Jacinto

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It's hard to believe that today marks 20 years since the theatrical release of David Fincher's Se7en. I saw this movie opening night in Seattle, where I was visiting a friend in college. Beyond the film itself, I have a vivid memory of how silent the theater was when the credits finally rolled (from top to bottom, no less), and everybody slowly got to their feet and shuffled out of the theater without saying a word. It was a downpour when we left the building, and that only added to the depressed feel of the crowd.


Once back home in Colorado, I saw it again with my roommate, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first time. This was the first film I remember actually having a deep appreciation for the making of a film, for how well crafted a film can actually be. From the writing to the directing, to the lighting, editing, music, acting, cinematography -- even the opening and ending credits -- everything came together to serve a completely cohesive vision. I also remember wondering how the hell they kept Kevin Spacey's role a secret before the movie came out.


Today, 20 years later, I took a couple of hours out of my morning and watched Se7en in my basement "theater" for the first time on blu-ray (I had never purchased it on dvd, and it had probably been a decade since I had watched it on LD). It still holds up; not surprising since I've long considered it one the most well-made films of all time. To this day, I'm not sure how this gem of a movie made it through the studio machine without getting watered down into something that would play better to focus groups, important demographics, and test audiences. But I'm sure glad it didn't.


Any other memories about this movie?


"What's in the box?!"
 

Alf S

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Great film.


Yes, hard to believe it's been 20 years!
 

Worth

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Jacinto said:
To this day, I'm not sure how this gem of a movie made it through the studio machine without getting watered down into something that would play better to focus groups, important demographics, and test audiences.

I think it came down to Brad Pitt saying he'd refuse to shoot anything other than the ending as scripted.
 

Walter Kittel

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Yeah, when you start reflecting on films from past years it really marks the passage of time. I think a lot about films from the early 90s that are now 20 or more years of age (Se7en, Heat, Pulp Fiction, Jurassic Park, The Shawshank Redemption, etc.) Of course if I really want to feel old I reflect on films from the 70s such as Jaws, and Star Wars which is fast approaching its 40th Anniversary.


Fincher is easily one of my favorite contemporary filmmakers and he showed a lot of potential in Se7en. I would agree that the film is extremely well made and still holds up after all this time. The film sort of has a timeless feel because it doesn't concern itself with contemporary cultural events which tends to tie a film to a specific period. When Dante's Inferno is your cultural reference the film stands apart from time.


- Walter.
 

Michael Elliott

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I remember SHOWGIRLS coming out too and me getting kicked out of it when the manager realized I was underage. They had sold me the ticket so I fought my ass off to explain that I was a film buff and wasn't just seeing it for some T&A. The manager gave me a long spill about how the film would "damage" me so he told me SEVEN was showing and I could see that. I had plan on seeing this after SHOWGIRLS anyways but I still vividly remember walking out of the film, going up to the manager and asking why such violence was okay for me to see but the other film would damage me.


Either way, I thought the film was good at the time but it's certainly got much better with time. It deserves to be called a classic.
 

Jacinto

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Michael Elliott said:
I still vividly remember walking out of the film, going up to the manager and asking why such violence was okay for me to see but the other film would damage me.

The violence you speak of is one of the most fascinating aspects of Se7en, in my mind. Most would describe it as a disturbingly violent film, yet the Wrath killing is the only act of violence actually shown to the audience – and that killing is less graphic than what can be seen on network TV every night of the week. In every other case, we are merely shown the aftermath of the violence, whether it's through the crime scenes themselves, crime scene photos, the effect of the violence on other characters (like Leland Orser after the Lust killing), and even just the outside of a cardboard box. What makes this method so effective is that our minds are left to fill in the blanks of what the actual violence was like, subconsciously forcing our brains to actively participate in John Doe's brutal plans by imagining the scenes ourselves.
 

Mikael Soderholm

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Jacinto said:
It's hard to believe that today marks 20 years since the theatrical release of David Fincher's Se7en. I saw this movie opening night in Seattle, where I was visiting a friend in college. Beyond the film itself, I have a vivid memory of how silent the theater was when the credits finally rolled (from top to bottom, no less), and everybody slowly got to their feet and shuffled out of the theater without saying a word. It was a downpour when we left the building, and that only added to the depressed feel of the crowd.
And people got to hear David Bowie sing The Heart's Filthy Lesson for the first (and probably last) time. Not exactly Ziggy Stardust or Fame, eh ;) ?


Twenty years, thanks for the reminder, time to get that blu out for a spin, it's been a while now.
 

Colin Jacobson

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Mikael Soderholm said:
And people got to hear David Bowie sing The Heart's Filthy Lesson for the first (and probably last) time. Not exactly Ziggy Stardust or Fame, eh ;) ?

I thought - and think "THFL" is a really good song!


And "Seven" is a great, great film - still my pick for the best movie of the 90s. Probably the most influential of the decade...
 

Mike Frezon

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Great recollection, Jacinto.


Thanks for posting. :thumbsup:


I remember that feeling of being blown away by Se7en when I first saw it...on my home theater several years ago.
 

Sean Bryan

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This film was excellent. Disturbing, dark, and excellent.

Aside from the many things my mind was processing after I saw this, I remember being really impressed that the protagonists did not stop the "villain" in any way. Everything played out exactly as John Doe wanted. And that was really disturbing, but interesting.

I'm surprised that it has been 20 years. I'll have to give it a spin this weekend.
 

Sean Bryan

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I also spent a lot of time thinking about what would become of Mills.

My take is that he would never be a cop again because he executed someone, but I don't believe be would be imprisioned for murder. He may have been charged, but there was no intent or premeditation, and I can't see how a jury could not rule in his favor for temporary insanity. He's been broken, but I don't believe he'd lose his freedom. He was as much of a victim as his wife.
 

Colin Jacobson

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Interestingly (?), my memories of "Seven" and Bowie are intertwined due to more than just the use of "THFL" over the end credits.


I was - and am - a major Bowie fan, and I saw him 11 times during the 1995 tour. I did a road trip that took me home-Cleveland-Chicago-Detroit-Columbus-home, and on the drive from Chicago to Detroit, I stayed over in-between - Ann Arbor-ish, maybe?

Anyway, I used my night off from concerts to see "Seven". I'd read a glowing review of it in the "Washington Post" and thought it was worth a shot.


Blown away! I think I knew going in that there was some big shocker point, but nothing prepared me for the actual ending.


BTW, my 1995 concert travels connected to the movie in one other way: NIN opened for Bowie on that tour, and "Closer" gets used over the OPENING credits. Maybe Fincher was a promoter for that tour! :D
 

Mikael Soderholm

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Colin Jacobson said:
I thought - and think "THFL" is a really good song!
Absolutely, I do too. 1.Outside is a great album, and that whole period is like his second golden age (after the 70s of Ziggy and Berlin). The Outside live shows are among his very best ever.


I only saw this tour once, and without NIN (they didn't follow him to Europe). 11 times, wow ...
 

Colin Jacobson

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Mikael Soderholm said:
Absolutely, I do too. 1.Outside is a great album, and that whole period is like his second golden age (after the 70s of Ziggy and Berlin). The Outside live shows are among his very best ever.
.

Best setlists? Yes. Best shows? Not IMO.


I enjoyed the shows but can't count 1995 as the best tour. Honestly, Bowie looked a little shell-shocked at the US dates. I saw all 11 of my shows in the 1st three weeks, and the crowds were HEAVILY oriented toward NIN fans, so Bowie didn't get a great reaction.


This was exacerbated by the setlists. For a diehard like me, the 1995 shows were heaven: virtually all new/obscure tracks and next to no hits. As you may recall, Bowie "banned" the hits after the 1990 tour, and he kept his word.


For 1995. A couple of weeks into the tour, he did introduce "Under Pressure", which was fair since he didn't play it in 1990. I have no doubt he did so because he felt he needed SOMETHING to interest all the non-fans in the audience.


But he still looked like a little lost lamb to some degree. I don't think he ever expected the crowds to be so NIN-intensive. The crowds didn't boo Bowie or anything like that, but they weren't all that receptive, either.


Seeing the show in Europe would've been a different experience, I'm sure, since it wouldn't have been NIN-based...
 

Lord Dalek

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You do know 1.Outside was followed up with Earthling right? That ain't no golden era.
 

Mikael Soderholm

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At the risk of this turning into a Bowie thread ;)

I've heard many bootlegs from the Euro leg of the Outside (and the Earthling) tours, and saw the Stockholm show, and they are great. I've heard a few US ones as well, like them too. A level of energy only matched by the Ziggy shows. The one from Loreley was proshot but never released officially, but still looks and sounds great.


And I maybe in a minority here, but I like Earthling (and its tour) as well, I'd say the 90s, with Buddha of Suburbia, BTWN, 1.Outside and Earthling, rounding it off with 'Hours ...' are just as experimental, interesting and avant-garde as his 70s.

But that's just me.


Now back to Se7en ...
 

Mikael Soderholm

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So, back to Se7ven, which I finally watched last night. I remember not really liking it much when it came out, looking at it as sort of a glitzy MTV-version of Silence of the Lambs, style over substance as Fincher was prone to (although I liked Alien 3).

I haven't really rewatched it since, but have come to appreciate Fincher more, and decided to pick this up on blu about a year ago, to see if I still didn't like it. It was really good, much better than I remembered, and beautifully (if that word can be used) shot, with all those dark scenes glowng (presumaby by that silver retention process used).

And seeing it again last night, I was reminded of what a great director he is (although I still have some problems with the script, like what makes John Doe do what he does). Acting was of course great as well, so I think it has aged well, or rather, not aged at all, it still looks fresh (with the possible tell-tale that no one uses cell phones).


Well worth revisiting.
 

Colin Jacobson

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"I still have some problems with the script, like what makes John Doe do what he does"


I thought that was pretty clear - what's the confusion?
 

Mikael Soderholm

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Maybe I missed something, I realize what he does, but not why. Why the seven deadly sins? Why these particular persons (and not all others who also commit these sins)? Why finish by punishing himself, was he the only one envious enough to be punished? What was the point of his crusade, what did he hope to accomplish? And did he?


I simply don't understand what made him tick. Unless he just was crazy.
 

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