Directed by David Fincher
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker
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.
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.