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Gluttony. Greed. Sloth. Wrath. Pride. Lust. Envy. Two cops (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) track a brilliant and elusive killer who orchestrates a string of horrific murders, each kill targeting a practitioner of one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Gwyneth Paltrow also stars in this acclaimed thriller set in a dour, drizzly city sick with pain and blight. David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) guides the action – physical, mental and spiritual – with a sure understanding of what terrifies us, right up to a stunning denouement that will rip the scar tissue off the most hardened soul.
Exploration of the Opening Title Sequence from Multiple Video Angles with Various Audio Mixes and 2 Commentary Tracks
Production Design and Still Photographs with Commentaries
The Notebooks: Full MotionVideo Details “John Doe’s” Writings
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First, the disc is single layer, not dual layer like most DVDs. What this means is that half way through the film, the film will stop, and you will have to eject the disc, flip it over, and insert it back into the DVD player. Strike one.
Next, the product description says it is anamorphic widescreen. It is NOT by any stretch of the imagination. The copy I received was letterbox. What this this means is that although you will receive the film in its original aspect ratio, the film had to be matted in order to fit your vintage 4:3 TV screen. So for those of us who own modern, 16:9 televisions, you will see those black bars along the top (which is normal), AND along the sides. Basically you'll be looking at a picture within a picture. It is NOT anamorphic. If any of this is confusing to you, please spend some time on wikipedia learning about it; it will pay off in the long run.
Lastly, the transfer to DVD is absolutely terrible. I've never seen a poorer transfer than this. It looks like it was copied from a bad VHS version. There was a constant grainy distortion on the left side of the picture the entire time. The sound is old and muffled. The picture quality was awful.
Despite all this, I did notice that there are several other DVD versions available aside from this cheap version I picked up. I like this film enough that I will need to pick it up eventually, so I'll try perhaps the 2 disc version, or just go straight for the Blu-ray, presuming the transfer from the analog went smoothly.
Also this guy does not really mete out justice. A person guilty of gluttony, sloth or vanity, does not deserve death, not even in the Catholic church and they loooove to kill and torture people. Usually, you go to confession and say a Hail Mary or two. I think the psycho in this movie was just looking for an excuse to kill people and get his pic in the paper, or whatever, and con a bunch of suckers into thinking he was some underground hero instead of what he was - a cruel psychotic, not-very-bright, jerk. Actually I have a lot of compassion for people who mess up in life, controlling the worst of your nature is difficult, most people mess up often on all counts - and Catholics can be overly critical - not to mention psychotic - about details anyway. You really have to know a person's whole life to know what they are. Maybe that guy was injured and gained weight because he couldn't move around very well, maybe the guy having sex was lonely and frightened and needed physical contact... who knows? You can't judge people on an outward, shallow look-over of their lives. If you want to help people out with their struggles for virtue why not invite the gluttony guy out to walk with you, or ask the lustful guy what intimate relationships mean to him, or why he's lonely or out of control? Maybe they're looking for help, virtue is it's own reward and all that - and lack of it is it's own justice in many ways. I think the psycho killer could've stayed at home and worked on himself, it would've worked out on it's own.
Freeman (the hardened, experienced cop) teams up with Brad Pitt (the younger cop) to track down a lunatic killer who is calmly torturing and dispatching people in horrifying ways meant to depict the seven deadly sins. The awfulness he sees at each crime scene begins to wear on the Pitt character.
I guess I was supposed the think the end was a clever twist, but it was contrived to me. Instead of resolving any of the interesting questions raised by the plot (how does a cop keep his hope and humanity when faced with horror every day?), the movie goes for a cheap stunt and ends abruptly. And I don't even think the killer's stupid point was made - under the circumstances, the poor cop's reaction is temporary insanity, so I'm not sure I'd classify it as "sinning."
The ways in which the victims die are so disgusting and cruel that they will stay with you years after you've watched the movie. There is no reference point of hope or even character development. This movie is just a long, slow, hopeless, poorly-lit slog through hell.
I can enjoy a movie like Silence of the Lambs if there is some brightness (represented by the Jodie Foster character) that balances out the horror. I can even enjoy a slasher film, like the original Halloween, because it builds up the suspense and gives us a likeable protagonist who survives the movie. But Seven's vision of the world is dark, hopeless and sadistic. And why would I want to wallow in that for 2 hours?