Few films actually have the ability to make the viewer feel sullied and dirty after watching them. Up until 1995, only The Texas Chain Saw Massacre readily sprang to mind as an example of a film which was able to make the viewer feel the same level of degradation as its protagonists, and than came David Fincher's Se7en. Blending the dark, nihilistic themes of his earlier attempt at closing down a major Hollywood franchise (Alien3) with a refreshingly nasty take on the overused serial killer genre, Se7en is one of the most depressing, engrossing, and intelligent American movies in years.
Morgan Freeman stars as the detective getting ready to retire, Brad Pitt is the temperamental young officer ready to take over from him. The unlikely duo are pitted against a city painted as Dante's Inferno, a population far beyond redemption, and a psychotic who is working his way through a series of murders based around the seven deadly sins. All of which leads to one of the most down-beat and shocking 'twist' endings imaginable, guaranteeing that the film must be watched at least twice in order to put all of the pieces together.
Andrew Kevin Walker's deliciously literate and devilishly dark script blends superbly with Fincher's vision of a city in decay, and the resulting film pushed Freeman into the upper echelon of Hollywood's serious actors and made people realise that Brad Pitt was actually a capable actor. Put simply, Se7en is still Fincher's greatest movie, and when his CV also includes the magnificent Fight Club, you realise just how high this commendation is.