TadKosciuszko’s review published on Letterboxd:
Not only was this an expertly crafted crime movie, but also had a much better crafted, and in my opinion, simply better, social commentary than the oft sighted Fight Club.
Mills (Pitt) and Somerset (Freeman) excellent studies of the shades of modern masculinity. Somerset (Freeman) is a little more traditional in his, strong, patient, reserved, quiet, and determined. His major flaw is that he doesn't see the good in this modern society that we've created. He thinks that the world has moved past him, and so, at least at the beginning of the film, it's time for him to move on as well. Mills (Pitt) is the fiery masculinity that is a little more over the line, he acts rashly and with violence but only in ways that, while maybe outside of the rules, aren't morally wrong. Both of these characters are shown as having deep flaws, yet they're still good people who follow a masculine code of ethics.
The less subtle commentary of course being on apathy vs idealism. Our characters determine the world is worth fighting for at the end, but again unlike the commentary in Fight Club, I feel like this movie does a good job at providing a worthwhile alternative to that. Some very bad things happen, and are mentioned in this movie that could lead a viewer to disagree with the protagonists without really being wrong. I'm not really going to get into John Doe's speech per say but I think it makes Mills and Somerset feel very uneasy. Not because of how absurd or crazy it is, but because the world has begun to accept things that are objectively bad as everyday and commonplace.
On top of all of that, it's a very exciting and fun watch. If that's all you want to take away from it you can, and still have had a great experience watching the movie. Very happy to check this off my list of contemporary blind spots.