East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Canonball #1000: Seven

New feature! Canonball is our ten year countdown of the 1000 most acclaimed movies of all time. The list is currently ripped off They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? but I'll adjust it over time. I'd like to see all the movies (even the von Trier ones, maybe) but I'm not prepared to, like, buy them. We begin with one of the most influential movies of recent years, Seven.

Starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker
Directed by David Fincher

The strength of Fincher's vision of metropolitan decay lets Seven overcome the indulgences in its screenplay for over an hour before it gets fatally sophomoricised. The sets are consistently underlit: there's endless drizzle and a lot of poking around with flashlights. Perverse in the modern way, He refuses to grant the expected money shots of extended killing scenes, and his the talent to show revulsion and fascination simultaneously. But sometimes only relvulsion is justified. Fincher's problem, as it always is, is that he wouldn't know a good script if it called him Rosebud and smashed a snowglobe in his face.

The screenplay only dips into stupidity in the pre-climactic conversation during to drive to the desert: how can Mills not think to point out that laughing at a fat guy isn't the same as making his guts explode? But it's not stupidity that's the problem, it's vileness. Grotesquerie accompanies all the murders, and at first this can be defended as functional. But by the end the sscript is as manipulative as any of the women-in-refrigerator exploitations that inspired and were inspired by it.

So, Andrew Kevin Walker: why would you think I want to see this shit? You think it's deep? You think if you say Chaucer's name enough times you make your crap art? Dante was more than a writer because of his endless compassion, because he understood beauty. You have no idea what to do with beauty except kill it. It's one thing to remind us there's ugliness in the world, it's another to create it.

OK, I'm regretting this project already. Ah, #999 is better.


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