Theory: Seven, 12 Monkeys, and Fight Club, are a trilogy. The Brad Pitt Anxious Angst Trilogy. BPAAT. At the end of Seven, Brad Pitt is put into the back of a police car, where he’s taken to a mental institution, which is where we meet him in 12 Monkeys. In the middle of 12 Monkeys, his his personality splits, he convinces doctors he’s okay, and the events of Fight Club take place. At the end of Fight Club, he’s put back into his father’s care, where the second half of 12 Monkeys, including the founding of the Army of the 12 Monkeys, then takes place.
Also these three dumb movies were my favorites as a teen.
Watching Seven again is fascinating. The angst on display in its design is so cheesy now, but was so different and new in 1995(!). I still remember being an angsty teen, watching this, and thinking how cool it was that Nine Inch Nails was jamming over the goofy title sequence. I desperately wanted Brad Pitt’s hairdo from all three movies in the BPATT trilogy. I even remember printing pictures out CUTTING MY OWN HAIR, then covering it in a variety of product to get that messy look. Little did I know all I needed to do was not use shampoo and conditioner and my hair would have naturally done what I wanted.
It’s also curious how tame this movie is in comparison to what’s released now. Before starting it, I mentally prepared myself for some really gross stuff, but it turns out my memory of the movie is much worse than what’s actually on display. Perhaps that’s Fincher doing his job–giving the illusion of violence without needing to show everything–or perhaps movies are truly more violent today and Seven is tame in comparison. Seven is still a good movie, and while it’s nothing in comparison to say, Zodiac, it’s still an enjoyable. Fincher is occasionally too on the nose with its juxtapositions of its main characters (Brad Pitt is emotional, Freeman is logical), and Brad Pitt is still not yet a very good actor, but the framework is here.
It’s also too bad Kevin Spacey is in this movie. This is the second older movie I’ve seen him in since all the gross news came out and it’s impossible to separate reality from fiction. He’s not in this movie enough to make it unwatchable, but the last 20 or so minutes are harder to watch than they used to be.