SCREENING + INTRO
Friday, Nov 12, 2021 at 6:30 pm
Location: Redstone Theater
Introduced by Adam Nayman, author of David Fincher: Mind Games
Followed by a book signing in the Moving Image Store at 9:00 p.m.
Dir. David Fincher. 1995, 127 mins. 35mm. With Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow. Coming out of self-imposed exile after experiencing traumatic studio interference on Alien 3 (1992), the 30-year-old Fincher returned with this landmark serial killer drama, an arresting and sleeky grotty vision of an urban American hellscape. An odd couple in a buddy cop scenario played deathly straight, Freeman is wizened pessimist Somerset and Pitt is callow optimist Mills, together pursuing a killer whose terrifyingly baroque murder schemes take inspiration from Catholicism’s seven deadly sins. Protected from compromise by Pitt, at his matinée idol peak, Fincher was able to preserve the original ending of Andrew Kevin Walker’s script, which, as rendered here, still shocks in its gleeful punk irreverence, which has characterized the filmmaker’s best work ever since.
Excerpted from the book David Fincher: Mind Games, by Adam Nayman, published by Abrams Books:
“Wanting people to listen,” says John Doe (Kevin Spacey) to Detectives Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and Mills (Brad Pitt), “you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer. And then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.”
As a self–styled fin–de–siècle aesthete jointly projecting his superiority and self–loathing onto the world around him, John Doe wields his art like a sledgehammer; he has to, because he’s on the margins of a marketplace oversaturated with morbid images and ideas. In order to make an impact, he must swing for the fences, and in this context of millennial excess, his analogy scan as a weaponized sotto voce aside on behalf of his director, halfway between a brag and an ironic plea for clemency. Whatever else you can say about Se7en, it is not a tap on the shoulder; whatever ambivalences or contradictions David Fincher cultivates in his second feature, he gets, and keeps, our strict attention.
Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.