I go back and forth on Seven, David Fincher’s stunning neo-noir that remains a favorite for dark-minded cinephiles of all stripes. Twenty years on, I can’t quite shake the notion that it’s all just a handsomely paced gimmick, but there’s no denying how tightly it can grip you once you start watching. It also deserves credit for following its scenario to its brutally logical conclusion, instead of the various flavors of cop-out that came closer than anyone liked to derailing it. Seven opened today in 1995.
I’ll concede Seven’s place as a modern classic, but frankly I’ll go with the Coen Brothers’ Miller’s Crossing over it any day of the week. In fact, I’d say it’s the brothers’ best work: a riveting, puckish gangster saga, loosely based on Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, about a tough Irish mob lieutenant (Gabriel Byrne) cut loose by his longtime boss and trying to stay alive in the midst of an escalating gang war. Dark, bloody, and surprisingly funny, it opened today in 1990.