I decided to look into the work of Kyle Cooper as he is the most famous modern title sequence designer. Despite Se7en not being particularly aligned with my narrative, it is known that this title sequence in particular was the start of the new Modern era for title sequences.
Directed in 1995, the film Se7en staring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman released such an original a title sequence it has said to revolutionised the business of creating main titles. Kyle Cooper directed the title sequence using many qualities of sound and editing to base the title sequence around the film’s genre, which is thriller/horror.
Instantly as the title sequence begins, due to the sinister and creepiness of the non-diegetic soundtrack, the audience learn that the genre of this film fits under the horror/thriller section. The track brings a sense of anticipation and tension to the sequence providing the audience with a reason to want to watch this movie and introduce the themes within Se7en. The first shot we see of is of the flicking pages of a book with a scratchy flicker across the screen indicates that the person who the sequence is evolved around is planning something as there is also shots of them writing in the book later on. Furthermore Cooper also uses close up shots of other irregular objects throughout the sequence to perhaps not fully reveal anything to keep the audience engaged which also provides tension and suspense to the sequence, examples of this is when the unknown character is slicing layers of skin of his fingertips. The use of prop and action highlight the intelligence of the now known criminal as by skinning your fingertips it makes you untraceable to the authorities. Although the vast majority of the shots are close ups we can assume, due to the dim lighting, that the events are occurring within a home or office in secret.
In addition to this Cooper uses a cross fade in between the shots and the illustrations of the cast and production gives an eerie feel to the sequence by linking the two together. Significantly the scratchy handwriting font of the cast is used with the same flicker of the screenplay seen throughout which links them together by both emphasising violence. This also foreshadows the criminal’s targets and actions as by using handwriting makes the link for personal. Also any other font is used in the old bold typewriter font which perhaps could lead the audience to elude to the old fashioned police reports. This indicates that in the film we should expect police, a violent and dangerous criminal.
When the soundtrack speeds up the montage of shots which are not in chronological order also do the same. This effect illustrates anticipation leading to a build with in the film itself. Also the fact that the clips are not in chronological order bring a sense of chaos and discontent to the sequence perhaps revealing criminal’s personality.
Most of the colour throughout the sequence is black and white, however, when in the scene where the photos are being developed it changes to a red lighting. The fact the room is red withholds connotations of blood and red is usually the colour which signals danger. Cooper perhaps could use this colour to foreshadow events in the film. Moreover, towards the end of the sequence the criminal is cutting and sticking images of squeamish violent injuries into books which confirm to the audience that the criminal is violent and perhaps is planning a brutal murder.
To finalise the sequence the criminal is cutting out the word ‘God’ out of a dollar bill while the soundtrack reveals its only lyrics of “you got me closer to God”. This in my opinion is the most symbolic clip used by Cooper in the whole sequence. This is due to the killer in the film being religiously motivated by committing seven murders for each deadly sins because his disagreement with modern secularised society. Therefore the use of the dollar bill and God ends the sequence with the biggest clue of the movie’s plot.