Monday 12 October 2009

The Seventh Sign

Who doesn't love a good world-ending prophecy movie? Me, sometimes.

Demi Moore is married to Michael Biehn and pregnant. This is her second pregnancy--the first ended badly and the couple are doing their best to insure this time the baby survives. After a word traveler and general weirdo named David rents the apartment over their garage, Demi Moore begins to suspect that the life of her baby is in danger. Snooping around David's apartment, she finds a sealed letter, which she opens and brings to a rabbi for translation. She learns the letter is written in a coded biblical Hebrew and recounts a world-ending prophecy from the Book of Job. As Demi Moore learns more about the seven signs that foretell the end of all things, she becomes increasingly convinced that her baby will be born a soulless monster and his birth will coincide with the world's end.

The Seventh Sign, is as far as I know, the only movie to blend both Jewish and Christian prophecy. Most films of this type usually stick to the Book of Revelations, but this film combines both Old and New Testament religious prophecy. Since her character has no religious affiliation of her own, Demi Moore readily accepts any and all religious ideologies she comes across. She makes no judgements, but simply chooses to believe what she will.

Though the film seems to rely more heavily on Jewish philosophy than competing Christian theories about the end of the world, The Seventh Sign ends with an altogether Christian deliverance. A small and clever twist gives the movie a bit of an edge over other more straightforward prophecy films. But another, less clever story element detracts from the otherwise solid plot (Demi Moore suffers from nightmares that turn out to be flashbacks from a past life).

Prophecy movies are, I imagine, hard to make; they tend fold in on themselves and are frustratingly self-fulfilling. The Seventh Sign steers clear of this problem by the simple fact that no one knows about or properly interprets the prophetic signs. In fact, one character, Avi, speaks with a minister about the possibility of the world ending and the minister councils him on New Testament philosophy: the revelations, he says, are not meant to be taken literally--it's poetry meant to represent humanity's darker side.

The Seventh Sign suffers a bit from a lack of attention to detail, but not in such a way as to call the film's logic into question. Though the movie's conclusion is rather unsurprising, the film as a whole is pretty good.

No comments: