Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1995. Cecchi Gori Pictures, Juno Pix, New Line Cinema. Screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker. Cinematography by Darius Khondji. Produced by Phyllis Carlyle, Arnold Kopelson. Music by Howard Shore. Production Design by Arthur Max. Costume Design by Michael Kaplan. Film Editing by Richard Francis-Bruce. Academy Awards 1995. National Board of Review Awards 1995. New York Film Critics Awards 1995.
Skillful editing and a decidedly menacing tone are to be commended in this serial-killer thriller, but the film also has the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are on the trail of a madman who is killing people whom he feels have committed the Bible’s seven deadly sins (greed, sloth, pride, lust, etc.). They investigate each crime down to the last detail, but director David Fincher has no intention of frightening you psychologically, only throwing your heartbeat a few shocks and twists by flashing disgusting imagery at you once in a while. It also doesn’t help that the production design tries so hard to be effective that it ends up being too obvious: do all serial killers have no electricity and live by moody candlelight in run-down apartments that feature plumbing that noticeably drips? The brilliance of this sort of look in The Silence of the Lambs was the fact that it looked so real, not artistically planned. Gwyneth Paltrow appears in a career-making appearance as then-boyfriend Pitt’s wife.