Se7en

  • Directors: David Fincher
  • Producers: Arnold Kopelson, Phyllis Carlyle
  • Writers: Andrew Kevin Walker
  • Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, R Lee Ermey

In an unidentified city of near-constant rain and urban decay, the soon-to-be retiring Detective William R. Somerset (Freeman) is partnered with short-tempered Detective David Mills (Pitt) who recently transferred to the department. Somerset is eventually invited over to meet Mills’ wife, Tracy (Paltrow); when Somerset learns that she is pregnant but has not told her husband, he confides in her his fear that the city is no place to start a family, reiterating his own losses of his fiancée and unborn child years ago. Somerset advises her not to tell Mills just yet of their child.

Somerset and Mills investigate a series of crimes relating to the seven deadly sins, such as a man who was forced to feed himself to death to represent Gluttony. They find clues at the scene of the murders that connect to the other deaths, and believe they are chasing a serial killer. A set of fingerprints found at where the Greed murder occurred leads them to the apartment of a man, near death, who has been strapped to a bed for a year, representing Sloth. Though unable to learn anything from the delirious victim, the detectives agree that the serial murderer has been planning these killings for more than a year.

Doe directs the two detectives to a remote desert area far from the city, with Doe believing that his actions have helped to show the people what the world actually is and to punish the wicked, riling Mills further. After arriving at the location, a delivery van approaches; the scared driver tells the detectives he was paid to deliver a package precisely at this time and location, and is told to leave after handing it over. While Mills holds Doe at gunpoint, Somerset opens the package and recoils in horror at the sight of the contents. He races back, warning Mills not to listen to Doe, but Doe reveals to Mills that the box contains Tracy’s head. Mills, distraught, demands an explanation from Doe; Doe simply replies that he himself represents the sin of Envy, jealous of Mills’ wife, and then reveals her pregnancy to Mills. Somerset is unable to contain Mills as he unloads his gun into Doe, becoming the embodiment of Wrath and proving out Doe’s plan. After a catatonic Mills is taken away, Somerset is asked where he will be and responds, “around”, suggesting he will not go through with his retirement. The film ends with the sun setting over the desert, with Somerset quoting Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls:

Full Metal Jacket

  • Directors: Stanley Kubrick
  • Producers: Stanley Kubrick, Jan Harlan
  • Writers: Novel, Gustav Hasford, Screenplay, Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr, Gustav Hasford
  • Genres: Action, Drama, War
  • Actors: Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D Onofrio, R Lee Ermey

A group of new recruits in the United States Marine Corps have just arrived at Parris Island for basic training. Their drill instructor is Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey), who wastes no time in starting the process of making these civilians into Marines. The Vietnam War is in full swing, and his job is to produce trained Marines. The film’s first section focuses on the physical and psychological treatment of the recruits, in particular Leonard Lawrence (Vincent D’Onofrio), whom Hartman derisively nicknames “Gomer Pyle.”

Hartman immediately pegs Pyle as a misfit. He is socially awkward, dimwitted, overweight, out of shape, and afraid of heights. He has trouble coping with the physical rigors of recruit training and does not respond well to orders and procedures. These deficiencies get the constant attention of Hartman, who punishes him to encourage him to perform better as well as to provide a lesson to the others. Hartman ultimately appoints the protagonist “Joker” (Matthew Modine) as Pyle’s squad leader, bunkmate, and mentor, stressing that Joker will set Pyle straight, or else. Pyle eventually begins to straighten up and become a more disciplined recruit on some fronts, but forgets to lock his footlocker before a barracks inspection. Opening it, Hartman finds a contraband jelly doughnut inside and immediately puts a new rule into effect: every time Pyle “fucks up”, Hartman will punish everyone else in the platoon because they are not helping Hartman by encouraging Pyle to work harder toward becoming a Marine. Shortly afterward, the other recruits gang up on Pyle during the night and give him a blanket party, pinning him to his bunk using a blanket and beating him severely with bars of soap wrapped in towels and socks. Joker, the last one to hit Pyle, covers his ears once he is back in his bunk to block out the latter’s moaning and sobbing.

With Cowboy dead, Animal Mother assumes command of the remaining Marines. Using smoke grenades to conceal their advance, the squad approaches and enters the building being used by the sniper. Joker finds the sniper on an upper floor, but his rifle jams as he tries to shoot. The sniper, an adolescent Vietnamese girl, spins around and opens fire, pinning him behind a column. Rafterman arrives and shoots the sniper, saving Joker. As Joker, Rafterman, and Animal Mother and other Marines of the squad stand over the mortally wounded girl, she begins to say “It hurts” in Vietnamese. After a pause, she begs in English to the Marines, “Shoot me,” over and over. Joker and Animal Mother argue over this request. Animal Mother initially wants to leave her to be eaten by rats, but changes his mind; he will allow a mercy killing only if Joker, who has much less combat experience, performs it. After a pause, Joker shoots her with his pistol. The film concludes with the Marines’ rendition of the Mickey Mouse March (lyrics) as their reunited platoon marches into the night toward their bivouac.