seven poster

Following up the disastrous experience of making Alien 3, director David Fincher made the uncompromising and unforgettable thriller, Se7en. Instead of directing a butchered version of Andrew Kevin Walker‘s hot spec script, Fincher and the film’s stars, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, fought to preserve one of the script’s most defining scenes–the ending. Fincher was initially sent an old draft of the script, which included the original ending before it was rewritten. After being informed he received the wrong draft, the director said he’d only make it if they used the original script. And thank God he made that decision, because if he hadn’t made Se7en, perhaps we would’ve gotten the watered down version of Detective Somerset’s (Freeman) grueling story. Worst of all, the filmmaker never would’ve won his MTV movie award.

The original Se7en poster with two floating heads is fine, but the custom Se7en poster featured below, inspired by the artist/fan’s theory, does the great thriller justice.

Somerset is the eyes, ears, and heart of Se7en. Fincher visualizes the world as he sees it–cruel and dark. What if everything the detective saw and heard was a dream, though? That’s what one artist thinks. Whether you think that’s a silly or unsupported interpretation or not, at least it influenced a remarkable Se7en poster. Over at Changethethought, an artist, who only uses his first name “Chris” on the site, expressed his theory along with displaying the custom poster he designed:

Full se7en poster

I opted for using my own personal take on the film as the crux of my composition. I have always held the belief that Morgan Freeman’s character (Detective Somerset) falls asleep to his metronome at the start of the film. What follows is a dream he has concocted where the perfect crime unfolds over the remaining 7 days before his retirement. Somerset has never successfully fostered a life for himself outside of his work. His work is his life and that life will soon be over. So the perfect crime ensues in his dream and gives rise to his alter ego (Brad Pitt AKA Detective Mills). Mills has everything Somerset doesn’t. A home, a wife, a child on the way, dogs and he still believes his cause is righteous. But alas, this alter ego is destroyed by the faceless John Doe cementing the need for Somerset to stay on the force and keep his (life) and job.

Somerset’s silhouette serves as the container for the imagery as the concept all happens within him. The poster evolves from top to bottom setting up the evidence first, then revealing the central characters with Somerset beginning to sleep on one side and Mills awakening stunned on the other with John Doe as the counter between.

My general issue with the whole dream theory is that, if that is the case, then there isn’t much at stake, and it undercuts whatever tension or violence we see if it’s all one long dream. If Tracy’s head isn’t in the box, then we don’t see the real horrors of the world that Somerset speaks of. The ending confirms the detective’s beliefs and fears, so, for character and narrative purposes, it should be real to have some emotional impact. But at least it’s a different and genuinely well-thought-out take on the film. More importantly, to each their own.

Se7en glow

The artist really did an excellent job of capturing the often nightmarish atmosphere of Fincher’s picture. If you want to learn more about the design, then head over to the artist’s profile page. Unfortunately, the poster isn’t available to purchase; it was commissioned by a group of collectors. The poster, as you can see above, also glows in the dark.

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