This is the first in a series of videos I am making for Indie Wire’s video essay section titled Press Play.
A filmmaker once told me that exposition in dialogue must be stated twice if anyone is going to remember it. The opening to David Fincher’s ‘Se7en’ introduces the protagonists, sets up the initial premise, and displays how their different personalities will clash throughout the film. Not only does it do this in less than four minutes, but it manages to communicate this information twice. It was fascinating to discover that this simple and graceful opening was actually pieced together from a much longer opening, which contained details that were meant to make appearances throughout the film. Due to the inability to move the production to New York for a shot of Morgan Freeman on a train bound for the city, the opening was ultimately carved up and rearranged into the one we now know. Without this turn of events, we never would have gotten the brilliant opening credits sequence that was made to replace the train shot. The trimmed-down opening gives us the opportunity to jump right into the story.