So what is your favourite film? We’ve all been asked it. We’ve all been asked it a lot. So much in fact that if you had a pound for every time you had been asked this question you could probably fund the filming and subsequent viral campaign for a fuck awful shaky cam horror film, which would ironically become the answer to said question for untold numbers of near-tards for about 15 minutes, or at least until the next brightly coloured ball entered into their field of vision. For such a simple and common question it’s an impossible one to answer.
There are a lot of films, not many are good and an even smaller number would make it into your list of favourites, plural. But this commonly asked, informal question being posed to you, perhaps by someone you don t know very well, if at all, is asking you to identify, commit, and then carve onto their perception of you forever your favourite piece of cinema.
Experience has taught me that people react to this question in one of two ways. The first being an inner panic as you quickly take a straw poll among your less debased brain cells producing a noise from your mouth like a buzzing refrigerator as you do so.Inevitably resulting in choosing a film that you’ve seen recently and liked, you blurt it out just to stop the monotonous noise from your mouth, only to realise nanoseconds later that there are at least five films beginning with ‘T’ you’ve seen in the last six months that you like more. But now you are forever condemned to be inextricably linked to Dodgeball or whatever embarrassingly mediocre ‘movie of the week’ fell from your lips by your friend for the rest of your relationship. The second approach is to roll out your ‘stock favourite’ upon the mere utterance of the question being asked. Just as your knee jerks when hit by a comically small hammer or your stomach convulses as Shia Laboeuf’s name roles up on the opening credits of a film you’ve been dragged to see by a potential sexual partner. To arrive at this point you’ve had to put some serious preemptive thought into the situation. Perhaps you’ve been a victim of scenario no.1 one too many times or perhaps you work in a job so mind numbing making top ten lists as fast as a channel 5 commissioner is the only viable alternative to licking the light switch for entertainment. You’ve drawn up a shortlist, thought of some tentative rules to define what constitutes your ‘favourite’ and you’ve got a result and by god you’re sticking with it.
Virtually every person over the age of 20 who has any interest in films has ‘their favourite’ firmly built into their psychological make-up and depending on their personality a good list of reasons for their decision also. Whether it be ‘I cried like a girl at that bit with the thumb’ or an even more idiosyncratic ‘I got my first blowy to it’ we all have our reasons. And looking beyond sexual awakening and melted cyborgs the film burned into my psyche is David Fincher’s Se7en.
Everything about this film is sitting on or just about to scale mount perfection. What do you want from a film? An amazing cast? How about three of the best actors of our generation? Morgan Freeman at his best, fresh from the set of Shawshank a year earlier, Kevin Spacey who, when on form, is arguably the best actor in the world and Brad Pitt who starred in Twelve Monkeys in the same year, still a world away from Mr and Mrs Smith and Heat magazine piffle. A brilliant script? Andrew Kevin Walker is perhaps the only man who could add anything to a Chuck Palahniuk story. A wonderfully crafted, compelling, swelling score? Awe inspiring cinematography? A director who is possibly the only auteur working in Hollywood today? Perhaps you like film noir, horror films, tragedies? Characters? The cowboy in white is so similar to the cowboy in black it’s scarier than the murders themselves. Maybe you’re interested in sociology, apathy versus zealousness, decaying morals versus Catholic dogma. Perhaps you’re a film student who wants to see those words you learned in school used with purpose, chiaroscuro, montage , expressionism. Or maybe you just want to see Gwyneth Paltrow’s stupid jibber jabber head cut off and boxed. We all have our reasons.
Nothing compares to these 127 minutes in my mind and these are my reasons. This film made me understand cinema, it made me go from seeing films to watching them and this is why Se7en is my ‘favourite film’.