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BBBCanada

Seven

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OK. I've searched and searched and searched, for a review on this 1995 movie starring a "union of opposites" Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman on the links provided but could not find ANYTHING. This dark master piece of horror seems to be in the same vein as, "The Silence of the Lambs." Near the end of the movie, Kevin Spacey gives his spiel on why he killed people who manifested ONE SIN EACH (it seems we manifest all seven though not necessarily simultaneously). It's interesting, but the Oracle at Delphi said: "Know thyself." Self-knowledge follows closely behind the knowledge of God, and self-knowledge for anyone means knowledge of sin. "My own heart shows me the way of the ungodly." I think I will have to use that for a signature. Scripture says we are all sinners, and we don't mind as long as the sins are nameless and faceless (think of Jimmy Swaggart's "confession" on national television, of which Quentin Schultz lambasted in his book, "Televangelism and American Culture: The Business of Popular Religion"). When we name a sin found in ourselves (by Grace) it is as though we are confronted in the back alleys of our souls with furtive saboteurs and muggers who seek to prevent our union with God. The sudden self-revelation of a serious fault is one thing: the discovery of a deadly sin which we hate very much in others is worse. It is like finding out a spouse is unfaithful, or worse, that we have been blindly unfaithful to the Spouse of our soul. Remarks made in job performance reviews and conversations with people who dislike us are especially revealing. Our enemies usually lack the false charity to deny our sins. No wonder we are called to love them. The human capacity for self-delusion is nearly limitless. We have all seen people claim great spirituality but do evil things and then ignore or rationalize them (read Michael Ford's "The Wounded Prophet" about the life of Henri Nouwen). Somehow we think we are immune to this phenomenon.

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FWIW, Thomas Hibbs talks about this film in his excellent book on nihilism in popular culture. He basically talks about how, in a nihilistic world, people look for meaning by loudly proclaiming the existence of evil -- and if there is evil, they figure, then there must be good, too, right? right? The only problem is that evil, loudly proclaimed like this within a nihilistic context, ends up seeming pompous and comical. And indeed, I remember reading some reviews of Se7en back in the day that took glee in mocking this film's self-seriousness.

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The only problem is that evil, loudly proclaimed like this within a nihilistic context, ends up seeming pompous and comical.

I suppose the philosophy goes like, "If we are to make a judgement about what is evil, then we need to have something to contrast that against--good." Question. Why does this have to take away from the reality of evil? I don't get it.

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Guest Russell Lucas

Peter's comment about evil becoming pompous and comical in a nihilistic context immediately makes me think of the Keanu/Pacino vehicle Devil's Advocate.

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BBBCanada4 wrote:

: : The only problem is that evil, loudly proclaimed like this within a

: : nihilistic context, ends up seeming pompous and comical.

:

: I suppose the philosophy goes like, "If we are to make a judgement

: about what is evil, then we need to have something to contrast that

: against--good." Question. Why does this have to take away from the

: reality of evil? I don't get it.

The problem is that evil-proclaiming films like Se7en don't actually show us a "good" alternative. They hope for one, but they don't show one. In fact, it often seems there are very few films in American culture that know what goodness is; too often, they promote "innocence" instead of "goodness" (a la Forrest Gump), which is not at all the same thing.

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Nicely put Peter. I can see what you are saying when contrasting "innocence" and "goodness." It seems like sentimentalism.

The problem is that evil-proclaiming films like Se7en don't actually show us a \"good\" alternative. They hope for one, but they don't show one.

Question. In a nihilistic film or context, the whole point is to show that "destruction is desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility." How should a film portray evil then? Can there not be some nilhilistic elements within the context of an otherwise "good" film? How would this be portrayed? Similarily, could this not be the case with other elements, i.e. sex? From a Christian point of view, is it a MUST that we have an alternative? Doesn't life for most of the world's population not have an alternative?

Now this last question is important. God in Christ has given the WORLD hope. But in their IMMEDIATE circumstances? They're pretty much [url=http://promontoryarts.com/viewtopic.php?p=14908#14908][expletive deleted by administrator]Please excuse the language. I thought the "language adjuster" was on. But hopefully you get my drift.

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BBBCanada4 wrote:

: In a nihilistic film or context, the whole point is to show that "destruction

: is desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or

: possibility."

Well, that is one FORM of nihilism, but what do you do with a show like Seinfeld, then? Does that show make the point that "destruction is desirable for its own sake"?

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Right. Seinfield is not within THAT category of nihilism (destruction is desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility). THAT form was what I thought we were talking about.

So you say that Seinfield's nihilism is JUST AS EVIL, showing no alternative of good or hope. I think I see where you're going with this, but can you add some more specifics? For the convo...

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Well thank you Peeeeter. Just wet my taste buds with that book endorsement. Now I HAVE to get it. Dawg! ](*,)

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My single favorite film of the past 25 years.

 

Mine, too. [Well, one of them. Zodiac is better, I think. There's a couple others that are different sorts of movies that, depending on my mood, might rank higher. But Seven is the only movie in my conscious memory--since X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes, anyway--that actually scared me]. I was just thinking it was up for a rewatch.

Edited by NBooth

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I don't really care for Seven (the only Fincher film that's an absolute keeper for me is The Game), but it's undeniably one of the most influential films of the nineties.

Edited by Ryan H.

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I haven't seen Seven since it first came out. I do recall being very amused by a local critic who trashed it somewhat gleefully, though. I think the first Fincher film I really cared for was The Game, and then Zodiac, which I loved.

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One other thing I remember about this film: The studio stressed quite strongly in the production notes that critics should *not* reveal the fact that Kevin Spacey appears in the final half-hour. They really, really wanted that to be a surprise. I remember at the time thinking Spacey wasn't *that* big a star, so what was the big deal? But this was the same year The Usual Suspects came out -- it premiered at Sundance in January and went into limited release in August, whereas Seven came out in September -- so maybe that had something to do with it, I dunno.

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