Se7en (1995)

Se7en
Directed by David Fincher
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker
(number 140)

It seemed appropriate to watch this movie when I’d just started watching Mindhunter, Fincher’s newest tv series about serial killers. This guy has a serious MO. He’s also got a high number of movies on this list, so I get it. He appeals – his movies are slick, and they deal with some disturbing, taboo shit.

I remember when this movie came out – I was too young to watch it by three years, and I was fine with that. Then I remember it being on offer at friend’s sleepovers and just sooooo not wanting to know. Lots of my friends did watch it, somehow, and I heard about things that happened in it. The posters were all over town, it gets written about and I deliberately spoiled it for myself so I wouldn’t have a morbid curiosity about it.

At least I know Fincher makes a slick film, even if the subject matter is pretty disturbing.

I don’t love Mills’s casual homophobia.

I am interested that the actual plot line of the movie is not too predictable. There’s the inevitability of the murders, the what feels like a relatively early reveal of Jon Doe, and then him turning himself in. However I feel like the music of the movie lets some of the twists down. It keeps you on edge, keeps reminding you that bad shit is happening, that it’s going to continue to happen. It’s not a movie you can ever relax while watching. Which… I think it undermines the drama.

Does it make me love the people? Yep, Mills and Somerset are both instantly likeable and I think it’s because they’re such obvious stereotypes that you can instantly connect to. The ageing veteran, Somerset, he’s seen it all, he knows so much, this is his last case before he retires and he’s played by Morgan Freeman who’s just instantly likeable. Mills is the rookie, the full of energy spitfire who’s determined to make a difference. It’s easy to understand and they’re played well so you connect to them.

Bechdel test: looolllll no. The only live woman with a name is Tracy and at first she’s just a perfect fifties era housewife, hair flips and all. She only speaks to the men. Mrs Gould is arguably a named woman but she only talks to the men too. We don’t even see women in the big groups of police officers.

Later Tracy gets to be a little flawed but still beautiful, she reaches out to Somerset for the best advice ever of course, it’s about being a mother – such a womanly thing.

Best line:

Somerset: Uh… Doc, is there absolutely no chance that he might survive?
Dr. Beardsley: Detective, he’d die of shock right now if you were to shine a flashlight in his eyes. He’s experienced about as much pain and suffering as anyone I’ve encountered, give or take… and he still has hell to look forward to. Good night.

State of Mind: The movie as I said, was spoiled for me. But I can see how going in fresh it would have been a good mystery and a new kind of thing. The influence of this movie is pretty clear on stuff I’ve watched more recently, including Saw and Prisoners, films like that. I didn’t enjoy this film though, it’s too much keeping the viewer on the edge and too much gross out. Great performances, will not watch it again.

Watched movie count

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The Lady Vanishes (1938)


Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Sidney Gilliat based on the short story by Ethel Lina White
(number 277)

An early Hitchcock. I think the only one I’ve seen of his which was earlier was the 30 Steps. If I have indeed seen that one, which I don’t actually recall if I have or not. Anyway, it’s got all the hallmarks of a great Hitchcock – trains, weird disappearances, ordinary people and a good sticky mystery.

The film is beautifully made, just like all of Hitchcock’s work, it’s slick, the people are stylish and the lighting is totally perfect all through. There’s some great sound design and it’s just a very entertaining and exciting film. I can’t even think of too much to say about it because I enjoyed it so much. (Also I don’t want to give away the plot at all.)

I wonder if Iris’s two friends Blanche and Julia are gay? I mean, one of them was wearing a fantastic pant suit and we assume they’re rooming together. They’re both begging Iris not to go through with the wedding too.. Well, headcanon says yes.

Does it make me love the people? Absolutely. Iris is completely adorable and Gilbert is a kind of charming cad. Sort of Flynn Ryder-ish and somewhat sweet really. I love Miss Froy as well, she’s a brilliant character and she’s someone you genuinely worry about when she’s gone.

Bechdel test: Iris talks to both her girlfriends Blanche and Julie about food, champagne and her wedding plans. Then she speaks at length to Miss Froy about the noise, about Miss Froy’s bag, and tea, and whether or not Iris is all right after being hit in the head. Lots of passes! It happens when the lead character is a woman.

Best line:

Charters: sir, would you happen to know what time the train leaves Bale for England?
Stranger: – speaks in another language –
Charters: oh, really? – tuns to his friend – the fella doesn’t speak English.

Iris: well I may be very dense, but if this is some kind of joke, I don’t see the point.

State of Mind: What an awesome trip that was. I loved it and recommend it to anyone interested in a good mystery or a romp. The characters are brilliant and the fashion is gorgeous. Will definitely be watching it again – maybe to spot more clues and see if I missed anything in particular. Great film, go watch. Hitchcock cameo is very near the end, and he looks weirdly young with dark hair.

Watched movie count