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Se7en - Blu-ray Review

5 stars


Se7en - Blu-ray Review

Time goes so fast. Fifteen years have gone by already since David Fincher unleashed his masterful beast of a thriller and reinvigorated his feature career (Alien 3 did not go well for him, and he returned to commercials for a time), cemented Brad Pitt as a megastar, made household names of Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey, and started writer Andrew Kevin Walker’s sterling career in Hollywood...

Set in an oppressive unnamed city, Se7en depicts the handover of one worn down detective’s (Morgan Freeman) desk to a brasher, younger one (Pitt). Within hours of their meeting a case emerges that will change them both forever: a serial murderer (Kevin Spacey) begins a ghastly attack upon targeted citizens from all walks of life; attacks intended to represent The Seven Deadly Sins. As both men try to navigate the case, understanding each other and the nature of why they - and the killer - do what they do, it becomes painfully obvious their suspect has the upper hand.

This is a first class entertainment ticket all the way. The story is perfection: a seamless combination of morality exploration and thriller. Through these vivid characters, you are thrust into a world that challenges your every perception, while, at the same time, you are taken on a tension-filled hunt that excites, confuses, and ultimately punches you right in the gut (courtesy of one of the best endings in movie history). This film never preaches; its pitch-perfect characterizations draw you into the characters’ plight, making you empathize with both leads from the outset, despite their disparate natures, and feel everything they feel right up to the big reveal. It is storytelling at its best, and an extremely rare event.

Pitt was never better than in this film. Hot off Interview with the Vampire and Legends of the Fall, he had become the newest pin up idol. Within two minutes of inhabiting Mills on screen, he proved himself to be much more than that: his fame and rise to superstardom was well justified after this film. Morgan Freeman, already a critical darling and seasoned professional, is but one of many jewels in this film’s crown. His character ended up becoming something of a new archetype for movie cops: an introspective ‘brain’. You think of all the films and TV shows in the last decade that possess characters such as Sommerset—they owe Freeman and Se7en a debt. But by far this reviewer’s favourite actor in the flick is its villain: John Doe himself, Kevin Spacey, gives one of the most understated, chilling performances in the history of bad guys. Anthony Hopkins is the master of presence, as far as cinematic psychos go, but Spacey takes the gong for master of mind-f#@king. His icy facade as he lures his targeted policemen to his endgame has become a thing of legend. It is Spacey above all others in this film that allows the shock ending to deliver its punch with such effect. If not for his nuanced and underplayed menace, some savvy folk may well have telegraphed what was to come (and I never believe people who say they did!).

Fincher solidified to all what was plain to see, even in the less than warmly received Alien 3—he was a gift to cinema. His ability to build tension, to visually invoke each character so effortlessly, and to lead a stellar cast to glory is in every frame. There isn’t a second of this film you aren’t completely immersed in. This is Walker’s story, but its Fincher’s world: an oppressive, evocative place that lures you, holds you, and keeps you until its ready to let you go. Not bad for a filmmaker’s sophomore outing.

Se7en was/is one of those rare gems that comes out of nowhere and stays with you long after the lights go up. It’s a monster out to get you, and get you it does. It is also accurately, and not in that meaningless Hollywood fluff descriptive way, a masterpiece: one of the select few where every cook who adds to this broth delivers perfection.


Component Grades
Movie
 
Blu-ray Disc
5 stars
 
4 stars
     
Blu-ray Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 14, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Turkish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; German: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); DigiBook

This is a reference quality picture. Se7en is a movie that relies on shadow and blacks; an always tricky atmosphere to perfect. The detail within shadows and the black levels are the best there is. Film grain is preserved, while detailing and clarity are above reproach. It should be noted, according to Fincher’s wishes, that the colour timing of the film was changed a while back and it is this new warmer tone that is presented on the digi-book. First class and the best the film has ever looked for home entertainment.

Special features are the same as the 2 disc release DVD. There are four commentaries, a couple of small and rather underwhelming featurettes, deleted/alternate scenes a few other trinkets. The digi-book contains what it implies: a glossy little page turner built into the case itself that has some nice photography and brief info on the film and its makers. While it can be argued that with four very informative commentaries, every aspect of the film has been talked about on this disc, it disappoints that there is no retrospective documentaries or any significant new additions to this blu ray release. I have no doubt in time they’ll do that very thing and tempt us to double dip.

Supplements:

Commentaries:

  • Director David Fincher accompanied by Stars Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt
  • Director David Fincher with Author Richard Dyer, Writer Andrew Kevin Walker, Editor Richard Francis-Bruce, and former New Line President of Production Michael de Luca
  • Director David Fincher, Cinematographer Darius Khondji, Production Designer Arthur Max, Editor Richard Francis-Bruce, and Author Richard Dyer
  • Fincher alongside Sound Designer Ren Klyce, Composer Howard Shore, and Author Richard Dyer

Featurettes:

  • Production Designs (480p, 8:56)
  • Exploration of the Opening Title Sequence
  • Theatrical EPK (480p, 6:40)
  • Mastering For the Home Theater (480p)
  • Audio Mastering with commentary by Brant Biles and Robert Margouleff
  • Video Mastering with Stephen Nakamura and Evan Edelist commentary
  • Color Correction with commentary by Stephen Nakamura

Photo Gallery:

  • John Doe's Photographs (14:26, commentary by Photographer Melodie McDaniel)
  • Victor's Decomposition (2:28, commentary by Director David Fincher)
  • Police Crime Scene Photographs (5:38, commentary by Photographer Peter Sorel)
  • Production Photographs (10:47, commentary by Photographer Peter Sorel)
  • The Notebooks (8:17, commentary by Art Director Clive Piercy).
  • Telecine Gallery (480p)
    • Outside Gluttony (0:56)
    • Inside Gluttony (2:23)
    • and Coda (1:01)

Deleted Scenes:

  • Eight deleted scenes and extended takes

Trailer: the film's theatrical trailer (480p, 2:28)

Digibook: Multi-page, full-color glossy booklet with essays on the picture's nameless setting as well as its ending, along with actor and crew biographies and brief descriptions of each of the seven deadly sins.

{pgomakase}

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