Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Hero's Journey: Archetypes - Seven (1995)

Fig. 1 Seven (1995) Movie Poster
Seven (1995) is David Fincher's second film, after Alien 3 (1992) . At the age of just 29, he managed to create one of Hollywood's most chilling and frightening crime thrillers. As a series of murders take place in accordance to the 7 deadly sins (Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath and Sloth), it is up to Detective David Mills (Played by Brad Pitt) and Detective Lt. William Somerset (Played by Morgan Freeman) to find the killer.
The identity of our main hero could be argued. Is it David Mills - The new, and young, recruit who is eager to adapt to the new city and it's challenges? Or is it William Somerset - Full of experience and is close to retiring? At first, Somerset is to reluctant to take Mills into his ranks, and avoids letting him in on all the details of the case, and in some instances makes him look very inexperienced. It is because of this that Somerset could be regarded as the shadow character. The reason for this is that as the plot progresses and he learns more about Mills and his life, he finally treats him with respect, and in doing so growing a strong relationship with him. 
Fig.2 David Mills (Played by Brad Pitt)
One of the people who helped Somerset to show some appreciation towards to Mills is Mills' wife, Tracy Mills (Played by Gwyneth Paltrow). She helps Mills with his problems, both at his work and with his relationship with Somerset. It is only when the three have a dinner together when they start to bond and continue with the case in a more productive manner. Through Tracy Mills' contribution, she allows them to work together properly and it makes them put their troubles/differences behind them. She also provides more realism to the film, as she creates the more light hearted moments, as the three characters discuss the new living situation of that David and Tracy share. 
When they're working, Somerset uses his wisdom and experience to help Mills. He acts as his guardian. He gives him a greater knowledge of society, the people and how the police work in the city. While Mills is working in correspondence with new ideas and techniques, Somerset takes it back to the basics of going to the library, and doing research the old fashioned way.
Fig.3 Detective Lt. William Somerset (Played by Morgan Freeman)
Like any Murder mystery film, or TV show for that matter, the true identity of the killer is unknown. However, unlike most  of other films of the genre, we only fully see the killer for the first time 90 minutes in, which is remarkable considering the film's run time is 128 minutes. John Doe (Played by Kevin Spacey) is a calm, quiet and emotionless character, and that is what makes him so terrifying and such a brilliant villain. He is convinced that his actions will stand the length of time. He plans out every small detail to incredible lengths - removing his finger prints on a regular basis, for example. What makes Kevin Spacey's performance so great is that he has so little screen time in comparison to the other main characters, but it is he who creates the biggest impact. He steals every scene that he is in. It is clear that his plan is working, and so this contributes to one of the most shocking film endings ever to hit the screen.
Fig. 4 John Doe (Played by Kevin Spacey)
The cast of Seven is relatively small. With only 4 key characters, and the rest only playing minor roles, the common film archetypes are shared between the main 4. This demonstrates how films do not need a big cast of characters to be a hit. Through it's dramatic ending, the film is a very rare example where the Villain gets the last laugh.
Illustration List:
Fig.2 David Mills (Played by Brad Pitt) - - (Accessed 07/10/2015)
Fig.3 Detective Lt. William Somerset (Played by Morgan Freeman) - - (Accessed 07/10/2015)
Fig. 4 John Doe (Played by Kevin Spacey) - - (Accessed 07/10/2015)

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