Favorite Opening Titles: ‘Seven’ (1995)
For years now, motion picture opening credits have increasingly become a lost art form as filmmakers want to hit the ground running and leave all the credits to the very end. But while audience members are quick to exit the theater to take care of their ever-growing urine aches, it feels like increasingly shameful that filmmakers are less and less interested in giving their works a prologue which helps to illustrate the cinematic stories audiences are about to take in.
Now when it comes to my favorite opening titles, the first one which comes to mind is for “Seven,” David Fincher’s 1995 film which proved to be his true big breakthrough. Things start off with us being introduced to Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman), a veteran homicide detective on the verge of retirement, and his partner and eventual replacement David Mills (Brad Pitt). From there, we watch Somerset try to fall asleep in his bed to the sound of a metronome, and the sound of the metronome is constantly overwhelmed by the violent sounds coming from the streets outside of his apartment.
After this, the opening titles, which I did not expect “Seven” to have, began, and they were done to a remix of the Nine Inch Nails song “Closer” which was entitled “Precursor.” Right from the start, they serve as an introduction to the main antagonist known as John Doe who commits murders based on the seven deadly sins. The way Fincher saw it, these titles were a way of introducing the audience to this character’s perverted state of mind, and there was no forgetting this throughout the rest of the film.
I love the shakiness of the credits as they illustrate the deeply disturbed mindset of John Doe as he writes in his journals and attaches pictures of people who are either his intended victims, those he has already harmed in an inescapable way, or those young ones whom he would prefer not to witness the bloodiness of what he is doing.
These opening titles captivated me from the get-go as they were unlike any that I had ever previously seen in other motion pictures. They were designed by Kyle Cooper whose other credits include the titles to “Home Alone,” “Passenger 57,” “Carlito’s Way” and the acclaimed television series “Homicide: Life on the Street.” Cooper was assigned by Fincher to create a montage reflecting the disturbed perspective of John Doe. The images presented here hang over everything else we come to see in “Seven” as the film heads towards a climax which proves to be utterly devastating.
It should also be noted that the opening titles to “Seven” were filmed over the course of eight days and cost around $50,000 to complete.
Please feel free to check out the opening titles of “Seven” down below: