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SEVEN ($25) is director David Fincher’s unrelenting thriller about two police detectives on the trail of a vicious serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi. What makes SEVEN stand out amongst most other thrillers is the film’s stylish direction and its uncompromising lack of a Hollywood ending. The film stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey. Pitt gets top billing, since his name is the box office draw, but it is really Morgan Freeman who shines as the older, wiser homicide detective who takes Pitt’s character under his wing before retiring. Pitt does turn in a good performance as the young and impatient detective, but Freeman truly is a master of his craft. Paltrow offers a sensitive and human performance as the wife of the younger detective, while Spacey simply amazes. As I stated above, SEVEN is unrelenting and uncompromising. Since the film does delve into the darkest places of the human mind, SEVEN offers some rather nasty images, and therefore not for the squeamish. For those prepared for the subject matter, SEVEN proves to be a rewarding and decidedly entertaining thriller.

New Line Home Video offers SEVEN in a Letterboxed only presentation. SEVEN is one of those rare cases where a film has been split onto two sides of a DVD. For SEVEN, this wasn’t a matter of running time, but a way to avoid digital compression artifacts. SEVEN was produced in anamorphic wide screen, with some very dark and very difficult lighting. The look of the film offers a number of pitfalls for video reproduction, without the addition of heavy digital compression. Obviously, New Line made the right decision, since SEVEN looks great and the numerous dark sequences aren’t overrun with compression artifacts. The Letterboxed transfer is smooth looking, with solid colors, and film grain is held in check throughout. SEVEN has a very deliberate look, which sets the dark atmosphere of the film. This film isn’t slick, glossy or glamorous looking, but the transfer does faithfully reproduce the filmmaker’s intentions.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a very engrossing mix, full of subtlety and nuance which draws the viewer into the world of the film. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround soundtrack, as well as a French Language track. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish. The interactive menus feature the usual scene and language access as well as biographies/filmographies for the cast and crew.

SEVEN is a dark, powerful and thought provoking thriller, which should be seen. The DVD is a first rate representation of the film and is well worth acquiring.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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