Incredible, especially considering the fairly limited use of light throughout, and the use of the bleach bypass technique that retains the silver within the film stock and overlays a black and white image over the colour image, creating more tonal extremes and richness in the completed print. Even more impressively for a film that used that technique, which usually increases graininess as a side-effect and gives the film a delicious noirish feel (I don't know what it is, but I welcome grain as a generic staple of noir films thanks to some happy confusion or other), the film is almost immaculately preserved in the transfer.
Fincher turned to the bleach bypass technique to add the tonal depth and a bleakness to film's aesthetic, establishing a cold, harsh world painted with a limited pallet resplendent with deep, ominous shadows, and the high-definition transfer does incredible justice to the contrast between dark tones in those shadows. There are enough different variants of tone to rival the pallet of a black and white film.
The movie's intentional grain remains, which was a wonderful discovery as other companies with such a film in their hands may have been tempted to strip the image back with the twin evils (okay, maybe necessary evils in some cases) of noise reduction and edge enhancement. The detail level is also incredible: and even to those who don't take it upon themselves to nit-pick over the quality it is obvious that the transfer is rich in every level of detail from the very outset.
Warner Brothers have a lot to be proud of here, and are quickly building up a reputation for themselves as the best major studio for high-definition transfers- strong words perhaps, but when you hear how well they have treated Fincher's soundtrack for 'Se7en', you may well agree. Even in its original guise, the soundtrack was beautifully constructed, building crescendos through scenes and cumulatively through the entire film that near unbearable levels of tension, but in high-definition they are rich and busy and ludicrously compelling. It's like an aural assault at some points, and that is a wonderful thing, considering how much attention to detail the soundtrack goes into.
ExtrasIf you own the previous best special edition version of Se7en- New Line's Platinum Edition- you'll recognize pretty much everything included on the new blu-ray edition. Four Commentaries Featuring Director David Fincher, Actors Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman and Other Collaborators on the Film Additional/Extended Scenes Alternate Endings Exploration of the Opening Title Sequence from Multiple Video Angles with Various Audio Mixes and 2 Commentary Tracks Production Design and Still Photographs with Commentaries Telecine Gallery Theatrical Trailer Mastering For The Home Theater 32Page accompanying glossy booklet.
An absolute classic, given the kind of treatment film-makers must have collectively wished for when the blu-ray genre was first announced: the transfer is immaculate, and will stand proudly near the very top of my Best High-Definition transfers for a good while.
'Se7en' is released on Blu-ray in the U.K. today.