DOWSE guide to the movies                                                                                         

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  Book Review


DOWSE Guide to the Movies
by Tony Lee editor of Pigasus Press

BFI Modern Classics: Seven

Richard Dyer
BFI Publishing chapbook, 88 pages 7.99
review by Steven Hampton

Among intriguing points in this study, Richard Dyer, Professor of Film Studies at the University of Warwick, compares the sinful crimes of Seven to a pseudo-'snuff movie', in which the killer delivers deadly sermons. This recalls the style of Wings Hauser's imaginative shocker The Art Of Dying (1991).
 This film's shocking denouement caught most cinemagoers by surprise - reports suggest even the hardened fans of film noir and intellectuals familiar with the sources of Andrew Kevin Walker's literate script were stunned - and it cleverly subverts almost every convention of the serial killer drama. Homages to popular SF thrillers like Blade Runner are thrown into Seven's eclectic mix of genre references.
 Finally, on a non-genre note, we find ourselves wanting the wrathful Mills to hold fire on wicked 'John Doe', thus overturning the American cliche of righteously vengeful cop. Having confessed his sins, we know the villain is guilty and we should feel eager to see him punished - capitally, if possible. But not in this case. In Seven, the slaying of the villain also brings destruction upon the hero.

Steven Hampton
originally published in touchpaper #12 (C)1999

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