Seven’s Movie Sins

So I normally try to analyze books, but I know I’ve thrown in a few video games. I haven’t done a movie but that’s because I can’t stand sitting still to watch a visualized book. That’s just my opinion; you don’t have to share it. My attention span is pretty weak so that helps contribute.

But the other day, someone passed along a movie with high held regards, and I had somewhat high expectations. All the reviews online said 9 out of 10. 8 out of 10. And I’m thinking, movies are never that well rated. This must be good.

And then I watched it.

My interpretation of Seven is it’s supposed to be a neo-noir crime film. About a senior detective who wants to retire and a sidekick who just joined the force, the two try to solve a series of murders before more people die.

Unfortunately, by following the motif of the seven deadly sins, it’s a little predictable. Even while the ending is as BAM as everyone promised, I thought it was a little gimmicky for reasons I’ll explain.

First of all, the characters didn’t get their well deserved back story. I say it like this because I think stories were alluded to, but never described in detail. Yes, I know there were some in here. But did we actually concretely find out where mister assistant detective came from and why? Why did he not take his wife’s consideration before they moved? She was an elementary teacher. He had to have known it was hard on her.

And then the fact she practically got no screen time. Her pieces of the story were randomly inserted, where she said her piece and that’s it. You don’t hear too much of their marriage falling apart or struggling.

I’m simply a character person and it wasn’t as complicated as I liked. Not too mention senior detective always solved the riddles. You got evidence that assistant was smart when he found the same books, but he never did anything besides kicking down the door. Freeman always said what had happened. Not to mention they never solved the crime, and the killer handed himself in.

That I liked.

But that ending.

So the killer is envy and Pitt is wrath? I mean why did the killer go after Pitt’s wife? So far, the people are random. You never see a hint of before this. He was never envy. And why kill her? Doesn’t it break his killing pattern? It’s always been for a sin.

I think the plot is fine. Its definitely captivating and interesting to watch, even if there are things left unexplained. But I have trouble calling a movie amazing if the characters are left so under developed. Besides their current problems, we don’t hear too much history or see too many complex decisions. Most of the plot was handed to them, hence passive characters, which reflects back to my earlier ‘essay’.

Active v. Passive Character Debate

I’ve been struggling to edit. I find that piece of the process is one of the hardest for me because it’s all thinking. I have to sit at my desk, my hands hovering over the keyboard, and I become zombie-like, my eyes focusing off in the distance, staring at some invisible mark, wondering…

Did I do the right thing? Is this the best course of action for my characters?

Maybe it’s not the smartest, but it should fit their personalities, their background and history. And one of the things I’ve learned just as of late…”crazy” people stories are boring.

And I’m not talking about normal crazy. I mean full on crazy – the kind where you should be in a straight jacket, your arms stuck hugging your body.

See, I’m writing this story, and with a “crazy” story, your character is constantly reacting to their surroundings, reacting to things they may see, things that aren’t there. And that gets boring…quickly.

Just like a horror story, eventually, your character has to be active, a part of the story-building process, where they make a decision and follow it through, even if it’s a stupid decision.

That’s what I noticed with Until Dawn. 

It hasn’t been my favorite video game, for many reasons, but as I sat there watching the game, I realized, these characters have to do something, even if it’s something stupid. Because if they were to do the smart thing and wait until dawn, nothing happens.

They have to make a decision – to go get the lift key, to go rescue their friend because that is an active decision, where the character is in some form of control. And we’re all human – don’t we all like to be control of something?

Even if we’re all crazy? 😛

That’s my active versus passive debate. I’m not saying passive is bad, but there should always be a balance within your story. Balance is key.