By David Sturm, Copyright 1996

In "Seven" you can see the autopsy of a 600-pound man, a rape contraption that kills women, a living skeleton who has been tied to a bed for a year, and roaches crawling on human entrails.

In movies these days, twisted is cool.

Directed by David ("Alien3") Fincher, the movie has New York City homicide detectives Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt trying to catch a serial killer who is killing people who violate the seven deadly sins. Their deaths are in accordance with their sin, i.e., an obese man is forced to eat until his stomach literally bursts (gluttony), a lawyer is forced to carve a pound of flesh from his own body (greed), etc.

The remaining deadly sins, in case you are interested, are sloth, envy, wrath, pride, and lust.

"Seven" makes a bid for artistic respectability. From its credits, which look like they were scratched onto the film stock with a pin, to its greasy-looking cinematography to its highly contrived plot, it pushes trendy buttons all over the place. It fails because the aggressive sickness buries the wan slickness.

One problem is Brad Pitt, a movie star in the Tom Cruise mold who is miscast in a role that should have gone to a character actor. The climax of the movie depends upon our identification with him when he loses control of himself in a moment of supreme anguish. He blows the scene. His shortcomings are especially glaring in the presence of two acting heavyweights, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey.

Another problem is that after all the spooky dimness of the first part of the movie, the climax is played out in the middle of a field in broad daylight. All the air goes out of the suspense balloon.

Still another problem is the plot. When the killer surrenders after only five murders had been discovered, I guessed right away he had already committed murder six and that the killer himself would be the victim in murder seven.

If you have kept track of the two deadly sins left on the checklist, you can pretty much figure out the rest of the movie.

Have I given too much away? Tough darts.

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