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This film is one of the classic films from the nineties, on which other franchises of horror thriller style films have been based.
Starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman the film plot is about a series of gruesome murders taking place in an unidentified urbanised city. The only thing linking the murders is the presence of a word representing one of the seven deadly sins.
The killer is clever in keeping his identity secret, carefully covering his tracks, until it suits him and his plan to reveal himself.
The film is as much about the relationship between Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as it is about the murders and this is another way in which it bears similarities to films in this genre, that have been produced in recent years.
The music in the film sometimes seems out of place somehow, as though they were trying to add suspense by over reliance on music instead of plot and this contributes to the dated feel of the film. It also feels dated because of Brad Pitt seeming so young. Though this doesn't detract from the acting.
The premise is definitely interesting and you may or may not guess the ending, I did but not as early as I can in some films. It is an 18 and it is graphic in places but its not gratuitous as in a large number of films like this today.
It can be enjoyed by men and women so is good for a snuggly night on the sofa but perhaps not a first date.
Sloth. Gluttony. Greed. Envy. Lust. Pride. Wrath. The seven dealy sins are a collection of the most objectionable vices sine early Christian times and used to eduacate the faithful of the crimes of the most immoral of humanity.
In 1995 David Fincher took this idea and with the help of script writer Andrew Kevin Walker, carefully crafted a masterpiece of cinema that is regarded still as one of the modern classics. Today, Se7en is still one of the benchmarks for all crime thrillers, and one of the most copied.
The plot revolves around two detectives who work homocide in an unamed, yet famiarily rain saoked city. The first Detective Lt. William Somerset played with trademark gravitas by Morgan Freman, is an ageing veteran, on the brink of retirement. His replacement, the impetuous young Detective David Mills played by Brad Pitt, has recently moved into this city with his childhood sweetheart and now wife Tracy, played by Gwyneth Paltrow.
When a particualarly grisly murder is given to Mills, Somerset finds himself, at the behest of his boss (Full Metal Jacket star R. Lee Ermey), grudgingly supporting in an attempt to stop the murders before the cycle is complete. As it dawns on the pair what the mysterious John Doe has in mind, the crime scenes become more unnerving until the last horrific scene.
The casting in this film works just right. Freeman follows his performance in 'The Shawshank Redemption' with this as the world weary tec, a confidant to Tracy, and someone all to aware of what is occurring around him. Bradd Pitt delivers one of those rare performances which are not dependant on his looks, instead portarys the intense, naive Mills all the way to his conclusion. And then there is John Doe. An unseen prescence that permeates the film requires an actor equal to the leads and he certainly is that. If you haven't seen the film, then you won't guess who it is until the momenrt he wants. Supporting roles are played in a way that they have their scenes, but never overshadow Freeman or Pitt. John C. McGinley, R. Lee Ermey, Leland Orser and Richard Schiff have only moments in the film but they make them memorable.
The way th film is shot, takes on an almost documentary style, similar to real life cop dramas, shot from over the shoulders of the protagonists. The scenes outside show always a grey, raining environment until the final scene. And the music never interferes, just adds to thet tension and supports the film in the way all good soundtracks do.
Financially, this film is the fifth highest grossing film of all time taking a little under $330 million. Critically, as an intelligent thriller which treats the audience with a little seen respect, it was universally loved by both audiences and the critics.
Personally, it is rare to see a film like this coming out of Hollywood. In parts it is more akin to something European. If you're reading this without having seen it, then I urge you to do so. Yes it is violent, and in parts very disturbing, but it is a story which has as much to offer itis audience even 15 years after it's release.
Seven follows two detectives, Somerset and Mills, as they try to solve a series of murders. When a body is found, the post mortem poses some puzzling questions for Somerset, a retiring detective, and his new replacement, Mills. When a series of new murders come to light, it becomes apparent that these are connected and relate to the seven deadly sins.
Seven has a good balance for a film of the crime mystery genre. First off, it isn't completely predictable and the various routes the detectives take in trying to solve the crimes maintain interest levels. The constant feel of a chase keeps you on the edge of your seat, you know the two are close on the trail of the murder, but you don't know whats going to happen next. The character development is also decent, with a look into the personal lives of the detectives to make sure that the right heart strings are pulled.
There are some bad points, however. Many questions go unanswered, or information given turns out to be pointless. Perhaps basic things, but why Somerset is retiring when he makes out that his job is the only thing he is made to do, for example. Other than that, the ending felt pretty rushed. They spend 90% of the movie chasing him, then the last part is over in 10 minutes. The ending was good, but with the quality of the rest of the film, I was expecting something a bit better.
I watched this film back when it was released in 1995 and have seen it again recently on DVD and I have to say as suspense thrillers go this is a very good one as it not only repulsed me but kept me on the edge of my seat and almost behind it for a large part of the movie. However, a word of warning if you are squeamish at all this might not be the best one for you to watch.
Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman co-star as two detectives trying to solve a series of gruesome murders that, they discover as the movie progresses are based on the seven deadly sins, wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and last of all gluttony. Each murder they discover in turn is so foul and hideous that there are some scenes that really are truly disgusting. Whoever the killer is has targeted people he believes deserve to die for possessing one of the deadly sins. They are not just killed however in a normal way. What makes things more grotesque is that they have been killed in ingeneous ways and made to suffer for long periods before eventually dying.
As they investigate links start to appear and it seems that whoever the perpetrator is wants to be found in the end but only after he or she has carried out their sequence of murders. Watch out for the twist near the end which is horrifying as well.
As horrific as I found this movie I couldn't look away a bit like looking at a train crash. I kept wanting to watch more to see how the story would unfold and as more clues came to light. What makes the film special is the way in which the murders are committed and the thought that has gone into each death, which sets it apart from other serial killer movies.
Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman work well together and respectively put in fine acting performance. They have to be serious throughout and feel the pain and they make these feelings known only too well. It is a tough job they have and this is the worst part of it.
The way the director has set up the scenes in the city where the murders take place add to the solemn atmosphere of this movie. The foul streets and decay everywhere not just outside but in the houses of the dead is like something out of Sin City. Darkly lit areas and forboding doorways.
As much as the serial killing is wrong the film almost tries to portray the society we live in nowadays and how the killer perceives it. They believe there are faults with all those who have died and they have died for a reason for being too greedy or lusting after something or someone and therefore have all sinned. Unfortunately the killer takes it upon themselves to carry out God's work effectively and wreaks his/her own form of justice.
As grisly horror/action movies go this is an extremely good one and worth watching if you can stomach some of the scenes
Directed by David Fincher
Starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman,
Everything about Seven (aka Se7en) breaks with convention.
The initial appearance of young cop / old cop duo Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman lulls you into thinking
you are viewing a traditional murder movie
But the flickering opening credits and the killers seven deadly sins-linked signature soon suggests otherwise
Seven is propelled by the power of suggestion, You never know where you are,
since events occur in a nameless American city where it is always raining.
There is an atmosphere of suffocating bleakness and tangible violence.
which i consider to be a bit long in places.
You also only ever see the aftermath of the crimes committed .... never the killings themselves.
And i find it a bit of a let down on David Finchers behalf,
this could easily of been a bit more entertaining if you could see the killings.
Don't get me wrong but i think it adds to this kind of movie.
Seeing a killing taking place is what you want , you want to be on the edge of your seat
as you see a killer, you want to shout "run" or "Oh my god"
But there was none of that for me.
I was also disappointed with the ending, it ended in complete chaos
not with the familiar neatly tied up end with a dash of comforting mortality thrown in to the mix
i found this really bad it left me thinking " well is there another one" and "what the hell"
I Have always been a fan of Morgan freeman and thought he was pretty lame in this film
i have seen him act a lot better in other films, so this is one i would not recommend to his fans.
Brad Pitt (Was the pits in this movie) also seemed pretty dim too but i guess all actors at some stage need to gain one bad movie
for their C.V.
As you can guess without me saying it but yes i found this film a bit of a waste, which is a shame considering the idea of killing people whom are the deadly sins would of been a great movie with a little more thought put in to it and by adding a few more elements to it.
This film was slow and very boring and i can gladly say it will stay on my shelf and gather dust
as i will not be taking it down to re-watch.
Best bit .... The End!
Running Time: 122 Minutes
The story surrounds the hunt for a serial killer, has set out to preach about man's impurities, targetting victims based upon the Seven Deadly Sins. Pitting their own impurities against them. The story starts with the usual cat and mouse detective story, The young rookie cop out to make an impression quick; Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) and the older experienced cop almost ready to retire; Detective Lt. William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) It quickly develops into a modern and unique story keeping the watchers guessing about the next plot development.
A wonderfully dark, powerful film which prays upon our own human nature. The seven deadly sins of life; Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy and Wrath.
The film has a slow paced and unsettling feel to it, unlike others within this genre, character development and attachment is worked upon with quality acting from the entire cast, creating believable and lasting relationships with each other and the watchers. The character development has only the one cliched flaw, the rookie cop and the wise old cop, but this is insignificant in the scheme and story of the film.
By the end of the film the audience are left guessing, the brilliant story play, and the revealing of the dark and disturbing underworld of evil coming together for one last twist. Which is gut wrenching to see. An underacclaimed film which should by now be a cult classic.
A brilliant performance by Brad Pitt in this film who previously had been known solely for his looks than acting ability, accompanied by the cool calm and collected Morgan Freeman showing once again that he is born to be in this kind of role. Creating an unlikely double team.
Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt)
Detective Lt. William Somerset (Morgan Freeman)
Tracy Mills (Gwyneth Paltrow)
John Doe (Kevin Spacey)
The film was written by Andrew Kevin Walker (Adapted from his own book) and brilliantly directed by David Fincher.
-Special Features- (Special Addition Version)
The DVD contains a number of special features for added value; An alternate opening sequence, delete scenes & extended takes, An alternate ending, Production designs, Stills, Featurette; The Notebooks, and promotional materials.
All special features are worth watching and really completes your understanding of this dark and unforgettable film.
This film would appeal to everyone, containing a hint of Horror, Drama and more than an edge of Crime Thriller. The blend of angst, pain and suffering allows an unforgettable story to be told. Well worth watching.
The standard DVD is currently available on amazon for £4.97, The special edition version is apparently not available New at the moment but is on New and used from £2.97
A review of just the film, Se7en was originally released in 1996. The region 2 DVD should cost no more than £5 through the usual online retailers.
Detective Lieutenant William Somerset is days from retiring from a lengthy career. A quiet, lonely man, he is irritated to find that for his last few days of service, he must work alongside his replacement; a hot-headed young detective named David Mills who has just moved to the city. The duo is called to a crime scene. A grotesquely obese man has been found dead in his apartment, and it isn't long before Somerset identifies evidence that strongly indicates the man was murdered. But neither Somerset nor Mills has the remotest idea about the events that will soon follow. A serial killer is on the loose - and when he has explored the seven deadliest sins, neither man will ever be the same again.
David Fincher's rise from relative obscurity to overnight hero worship can almost entirely be credited to this film. Although he had previously directed Alien 3, it wasn't the success that many had hoped for and other than that his only work has been on music promotional videos (including Sting, Madonna and Aerosmith). Se7en systematically turned Fincher into one of Hollywood's hottest properties. It wasn't so much an overnight success, but a creeping, engulfing monster, whose influence spread by word of mouth. All those who went to see the film at the cinema left the auditorium in stunned silence, only finding the stomach to discuss what they had seen the next day, and subsequently inspiring another group of film-goers to go and see what all the fuss was about.
Ostensibly a serial killer thriller, Se7en effectively redefined the genre and many, many films attempted to copy the formula thereafter, generally without success. Whilst the film appears to contain all the normal ingredients (a gruff, wiser old detective coupled with an upstart, a trail of clues that indicate a highly intelligent killer) in fact, everything here was different. Morgan Freeman's William Somerset is a shrewd, expert detective, but his world-weary attitude towards the 'apathy of society' is an essential observation on the events that unfold before us. Brad Pitt's Mills is fiery and hot-headed but seems motivated by the love of his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) and his desire to progress through the force - but at what cost? It's something that Somerset seems to struggle with from the outset, suggesting that the audience simply can't quite be sure what Mills is all about - another essential characterisation in the proceedings.
The concept that a killer is inspired by infamous works of literature doesn't seem all that new now. Indeed, countless British television dramas (Messiah, Taggart, Trial and Retribution) have featured killings that are linked in some way to a great work of fiction. But whereas those dramas seem fantastical and far-fetched, Se7en is so utterly grounded that the audience really does believe everything they see. Indeed, unlike his counterparts who would be portrayed reading up on, and becoming expert in, every classic novel referred, Mills simply throws the damn novel down to one side in frustration, allowing his mentor to take the intellectual ropes. Even together, the pair still shows ignorance in trying to decipher the killer's clues. Indeed, any breakthrough that is made is made more by luck or chance than through strong detective work. Andrew Kevin Walker's script is a calm, under-stated piece of writing that complements the dark, dour mood of the film entirely. It is left to the killer (revealed later in the film) to add the most obviously profound lines, but there is hope to be had in the wisdom of William Somerset whose tired eyes and calm words somehow balance things, just a little at least.
Fincher's style here is, perhaps, less ambitious than some of his later efforts and his camera has fewer tricks up its sleeve. This is entirely something to be congratulated because it serves only to enhance the mood of the film. The film seems almost entirely set at night, washed out in sombre, rain-soaked hues that lead the audience to believe that this city is the last place you would want to live. Critically, Somerset warns Mills that he hasn't worked in a city like this before but never actually names the location. The point is that this could be your city, my city - anywhere in the world, and the film's makers want us to believe this. There's a strong noir-ish quality to the film that means that even now, some fifteen years after the film was first produced, it hasn't really aged at all. Technology is almost entirely absent from the proceedings (this is a long way from CSI) and helps establish the fact that the two detectives must solve the case based on intelligence and instinct.
Infamous for two or three key scenes, Se7en is not the visual gore-fest that some would have you believe. The murder scenes are grotesque and very realistic but it's more the consideration of what the killer has done than the actual demonstration of such things that is truly disturbing. Fincher and Walker effectively sow the seed of an idea that starts with the line 'what would you do if you had to....' It's only then that the audience suddenly realises just how terrible these crimes are. This is nothing, of course, compared to the dreadful realisation of the killer's last two victims, but despite having one of the bleakest conclusions of modern cinema, there's a certain neatness to Se7en truly typified by the statement 'Unhappily Ever After'.
This is probably Brad Pitt's finest performance to date. Attempting to build on his reputation as 'just another pretty boy' Pitt adds a depth and intensity to his character here that justified his addition to the A list. Pitt responds enormously well to Fincher's camera and it was no surprise that the two would reunite in later classics Fight Club and Benjamin Button. Freeman is excellent here, too, in a role perfectly suited to his quiet, self-confident manner. It's often said that Gwyneth Paltrow is rather underused here but that's almost entirely the point. Like a forgotten component, she drifts in and out of the proceedings at intervals, reminding us that there is more to David Mills than just a police badge. The other notable mention must go to Kevin Spacey but for fear of spoiling anything, it's enough to say that he's completely at his best here.
Still listed within the top 30 films of all time on the Internet Movie Database, Se7en is a rarity, a true modern day classic horror film that stands the test of time. Fincher capably demonstrates how psychological horror should work and whilst he may have inspired the likes of Saw and Hostel, their makers never really seem to have understood the point. Bleak, puzzling and generally terrifying, this is essential viewing and probably always will be.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Se7en is the film that made its director, David Fincher, a name to watch in Hollywood. His first film, Alien 3, may have bomed and been largely considered a messy failure, but that was more the studio's fault than his, and with Se7en, he has more control over things, making an impressive and creepy thriller that remains among the best that the genre has ever seen.
Detective William R. Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is just about ready to retire, but in his last months, he is paired with arrogant Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt), and together, they begin investigating a strange series of grisly deaths that appear to represent the seven deadly sings. For instance, one man, representing gluttony, is over-fed until his stomach lining bursts, while another, representing lust, is forced to use a spiked-device to stab a woman with in her sensitive area. The two are baffled, but eventually, through Somerset's smarts, are led towards a conclusion that has in store for them something they could never have imagined. It's superbly played, and includes an uncredited appearance by Kevin Spacey later on.
What begins as a rudimentary thriller slowly but surely transforms into a smart, slick and engrossing thriller. The final twenty minutes of the film play out with such a theatricality that one can't turn away for a second. Things build and build in the final scenes, ending with a shocking and satisfying climax that is both original and (at least for the time) counter-Hollywood. Fincher makes little attempt to hold the viewer's hand through this taut thriller, and as such he provides an excellent segue into his more mature and masterful works later in his career.
Every now and then, along comes a gem of a film that keeps you absolutely riveted to the screen, no matter how many times you watch it. Even writing it now, it is so vivid in my mind. A dark and disturbing psychological thriller, it features two cops as they hunt after a serial killer, who is using the seven deadly sins as a pattern for the killings.
Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman play the two detectives, and what starts out as a pair of hard nosed cops chasing another deranged psycho killer, soon turns into a psychological game of cat and mouse. Pitt is excellent as the frenetic and volatile young Mills, a doggedly determined detective who lets nothing stand in his way. He is contrasted by the ever serene Morgan Freeman as Somerset, an older and more experienced detective who would rather play out a scene in his head and plan his actions, rather than jump in feet first like Mills.
The two contrast each other brilliantly, and are superbly supported by a villainous Kevin Spacey as John Doe. We are kept guessing throughout the film as to whether Spacey has an element of guilt, or if he is playing the detectives. The acting is supreme, the clinical and calculating, almost robotic nature of the character disturbing in the extreme.
Gwyneth Paltrow acts as a sort of grounding character, bringing us back to the real world. As Tracy (Mills' wife) she calms him down and is a sort of Earth wire to his Live wire! She has a very important role to play in providing both balance and imbalance, lending a humane and regular aspect to the characters around her.
The filming is intense indeed. Often going through dark phases, it explores the styles of closeup shots as well as wide and panoramic scenes, giving the audience a feeling of openness as well as claustrophobia. The murders follow the Biblical seven deadly sins, and as each murder is committed, we are given an often graphic viewpoint of how each murder has resulted. Naturally, Mills and Somerset are aiming to prevent all seven murders from taking place, and the scenes featuring how they do their detective work are anxious and frantic all the time. There are many periods of silence, where closeups on their faces make for dramatic effect, and these are counterbalanced by some explorative and gaping shots to introduce many scenes.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this. I found it was incredibly well directed by David Fincher, and he seemed to have a really strong control over the events in the film. Each scene worked perfectly, and the buildup to the shocking ending were intense beyond belief. Light dawned what was happening a little too late for me the first time I watched it, but the second time around, the clues are all there. It's an incredibly twisty thriller, fast paced and brutal. Not one for the squeamish due to the often graphic nature of the film, but if you're not one of these, then it's a must see. Very, very powerful film, and one I highly recommend. Seven is currently available to buy from amazon.co.uk for £4.97: bargain!
Whats it about?
Two detectives, Mills (Pitt) and Somerset (Freeman) try to find the brutal serial killer John Doe (Kevin Spacey), as they follow his murders they realise that the murders are connected with the Bible's Seven Deadly sins, as the first fat victim is killed for gluttony and the second a rich lawyer has the words greed spelt in blood at the scene. The two detectives have to stop Doe before he kills seven people and for both men the murders take on a much more personal nature than they could have ever wished!
Brad Pitt ... Detective David Mills
Morgan Freeman ... Detective Lt. William Somerset
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Tracy Mills
R. Lee Ermey ... Police Captain
Andrew Kevin Walker ... Dead Man (as Andy Walker)
Daniel Zacapa ... Detective Taylor
John Cassini ... Officer Davis
Bob Mack ... Gluttony Victim
Peter Crombie ... Dr. O'Neill
Reg E. Cathey ... Coroner (as Reginald E. Cathey)
George Christy ... Workman
Endre Hules ... Cab Driver
Hawthorne James ... George, Library Night Guard
William Davidson ... Library Guard (as Roscoe Davidson)
Bob Collins ... Library Guard
Pitt is excellent as the new young detective on the block, he and Freeman as the grizzled veteran spark off each other perfectly but what really stands this serial killer thriller apart from other films is the direction of David Fincher.
The film is dark to the point of making you feel disgusted, it has incredible twists at the end and the murders are well thought out but awfully brutal, this is an ugly, intelligent film where you really don't want any more murders to take place. The music is as varied as the murder techniques with turns as diverse as Trent Reznor and the Nine Inch Nails to Billy Holliday, the songs fit the film perfectly and add atmosphere to an already creepy film. This has twists and turns and is actually very thought provoking and scary.
Released in 1996 the film still stands well today, the cinematography is awesome, Pitt is sturdy and assertive while Freeman is world weary and cynical, Spacey as the crazed Doe is wild and yet very logical in his attitude, the writing is brilliant the murders are brilliantly thought out and this is a very special film which is well worth a viewing.
The DVD is available for £3.99 on Play.com it rightly holds an 18 certificate and includes deleted scenes and extras.
** The Plot **
Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is preparing to retire from the police force and leave the horrors of human nature in the city behind, but not before he undertakes one last case. Somerset is partnered with Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt), a young, firey, inexperienced policeman from a small town.
The case is a murder investigation which quickly turns into a deadly manhunt. The first murder victim is an obese man who was force fed spaghetti until his stomach burst. Somerset is given this case to try and solve whilst Mills is given the murder case of Defence Attorney Eli Gould. At the crime scene of Gould's office, there is a chilling message on the wall: Greed written in blood.
Somerset soon finds the word Gluttony behind the obese man's fridge and soon the puzzle pieces start to fit, and he realises that the killer is basing his murders on the Seven Deadly Sins, meaning there are five to go.
** My Opinion **
Well I actually saw the film first and then read the book on which this film is based and I have to say they did a brilliant job at keeping most of the story the same. The ending in the book is far gorier than the film though, but I won't dwell on that!
I could have gone into more detail about the plot but I think its great, and its one that should be watched without much knowledge of what happens next, as it really is brilliant how it all fits together.
The murders are quite gruesome but brilliant at the same time, they have been meticulously planned by the killer, and you can see, even though you don't agree or like the killer, how much he has put into it all. The idea was here before Saw was even a thought, let alone 50 million films (sorry 6!)...
The characters of Somerset and Mills may seem like chalk and cheese but in actual fact I think that Mills reminds Somerset of a younger him.
Its actually quite hard to discuss the film without giving too much away, but all in all I think this film is brilliant and its full of great twists and turns.
Seven (now often referenced as the gimmicky Se7en), is a 1995 from director David Fincher, written by Andrew Kevin Walker and starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Gwyneth Paltrow.
In an unnamed city, veteran cop Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman), in the days leading up to his retirement, shows his replacement David Mills (Brad Pitt) the ropes when they take on a murder investigation. It becomes apparent that there is a serial killer using the biblical seven deadly sins as inspiration for the murders. Can the world weary Somerset and hot headed Mills put aside their differences and work together to stop the killer before he strikes again?
If you were just to read the above story outline, you could be forgiven for dismissing Seven as a bog standard direct-to-DVD thriller. This most definitely isn't the case. This is an ingeniously plotted film (it's a shame that Andrew Kevin Walker hasn't hit greater heights considering the talent shown with this script) as the killer leads the detectives on a merry dance, offering red herrings as to what his real identity is. There is a sparce nature to the dialogue, a very real ring to it, with no need for exposition as the makers trust the viewer's intelligence to follow the story. Aside from one chase scene, this is more a police procedural than anything, with the officers using their brains rather than their guns to try and stop the killer.
David Fincher, here returning to feature length directing following a stint making music videos following the critical mauling from Alien3, gives the film a very distinctive feel. The most scenes are in low light as the city seems to be continually rain-soaked giving it a nightmarish quality. He also draws some great, understated performances from his leads. Kudos also for going with one of the bleakest endings to a mainstream film in a very long time. This movie provided unquestionable proof of his great talent.
This is one of Pitt's best performances as the headstrong and boorish Mills, who likes to shout his mouth off before thinking. And then in the final scenes he conveys the necessary anquish and anger without barely a word. Great. Morgan Freeman, does what he always does - lends gravitas and humanity to whatever role he takes on. Because he performs so consistently he is sometimes taken for granted. The weak link for me would be Gwyneth Paltrow, but that may be because she isn't given a lot to do. Special mention should go to the actor who plays the killer. I won't mention his name for those who haven't seen the film as it's a surprise then when he turns up. The actor famously resisted doing press for the film and asked that his name not be on the opening credits for fear of ruining the reveal, which shows a nice touch of humility from him.
For a nightmarish, gut wrenching thriller, with one of the bravest endings to a film in a long time, you could do a lot worse than to give Seven your time.
Seven (or Se7en, as it is also known) is a 1995 crime thriller starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey. Similar in many ways to Silence of Lambs and Manhunter, the film sees detective Morgan Freeman paired up with fresh recruit Brad Pitt on the trail of a deranged killer who is carrying out a series of murders that reflect the seven deadly sins of the bible; one man is forced to eat himself to deth with a gun placed against his temple; a young model has her nose cut off for the sin of pride; a hugely wealthy defence attorney is forced to cut off a pound of flesh, in a homage to shakespeare, for the sin of greed, and so on.
The film is incredibly dark and depressing, showing the very worst of human nature almost all of the time. Its raining in practically every outside shot, and Freeman is deeply pessimistic, observing that the best he as a detective can really hope to achieve is to pick up the pieces of other people's heinous crimes and file all the evidence away neatly on the tiny off-chance it will one day be useful, and whilst Pitt and his wife Paltrow give the film a glimmer of hope, the overall feel is one of utter despondency and resignation- almost to the point where the viewer sympathises with the Kevin Spacey's killer, who is utterly disgusted by the humanity that surrounds him.
The film throws in a major curveball halfway through, breaking the mould and throwing the traditional serial killer film formula right out the window, and is hugely atmospheric throughout, with generally excellent casting, solid, intelligent dialogue and some superb performances by Morgan and Spacey. Pitt's acting is not that bad (he can act rather well when given the correct direction, see fight club for example) but next to Morgan and Spacey he seems like a block of wood. Still, Seven remains a brilliant psychological thriller that makes some intelligentt observations on modern society, and can be watched again and again, as it remains utterly mesmerising even when you know what's coming.
The cast list for this psychological thriller is an impressive one as it is headed by Brad Pitt and the excellent Morgan Freeman. Freeman plays Detective William Somerset who is counting down the days until he reaches his retirement however his lst case is proving a particularly tough one after he is paired with another officer by the name of David Mills played by Pitt.
The series of murders they find themselves investigating are all quite gruome and while the victims are not connected to each other the manner in which they dies seems to replicate the seven deadly sins from the bible.
This film is an excellent thriller which is packed full of plot twists and a truly dramatic ending that draws upon all of the seven sins, the performances by both Freeman and Pitt are excellent and you really get to feel the psychological pressure that they are placed under by the killers actions and taunts aimed at them. Both are well supported by Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey who makes a bit of a cameo appearence.
Visually the film is impressive and the atmosphere of impending doom and violence is set from the start with some quality mood shots. There are some quite grusome scenes in the film an it has a gritty violent edge to it so it would not be to everyone taste but it is definately a film that warrents a viewing.
Detective Lieutenant William Somerset is just six days off retiring when he becomes involved in the hunt for a serial killer. Aided by Detective David Mills, it soon becomes clear that the murders, although initially random, do have something in common - each of them is the representation of one of the seven deadly sins. Gluttony, for example, is represented by a man so overweight that he was unable to escape from his tormentor. Slowly, the two detectives begin to piece the evidence together, and Mills almost catches the serial killer, nick-named John Doe, at one point, only to narrowly escape with his life. Will they finally catch up with John Doe? Or is he destined to always be one step ahead?
Made in 1995 and directed by David Fincher, this film was much praised on release for being excellent in just about every way possible. And with a rating of 8.6 on imdb.com (out of a quarter of a million votes), it is clear that most people still consider it to be a classic. I remember being deeply impressed myself when I first saw it. Watching it again after fourteen years, however, it isn't quite the amazing piece of cinema that I once thought it was - certainly it is not without its flaws.
Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt are at the top of the billing and really do carry the film between them. Neither are what I would call knock-out performances though. Freeman is great, as usual, but I've seen him in similar roles loads of times and I really don't think he brought anything new to the table here. Perhaps it was more impressive at the time, I don't know. Somerset is a rather typical jaded cop, looking forward to retirement, yet not knowing what he is going to do with the rest of his life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the performance; in fact, Freeman is incredibly convincing - it's just that I've seen it before in other films and with other actors. His best scenes are most definitely with co-star Brad Pitt - the two of them clash and this adds a bit of colour to both of their characters.
Brad Pitt is marginally better as David Mills, mainly because he has a private life - he is happily married to his childhood sweetheart, Tracy, and this adds a bit more depth to the role. And perhaps because Mills is fairly new to the job, he is less jaded, so Pitt is able to express emotions much more readily. This he does really well, although he isn't always a particularly likeable character - he comes across as being a bit too hot-headed for that. He particularly comes into his own towards the end of the film - I can't really say why without giving away the story, but he gives a really moving performance. He also works well with his screen wife, played by Gwyneth Paltrow - there is a great chemistry between the two of them. Paltrow annoys me on occasion - she has a whiny accent - but here she keeps it to a minimum and slips nicely into the secondary role that she has been given.
Kevin Spacey deserves a mention as John Doe. He doesn't appear in the film until right towards the end, but it is so different from his usual 'everyman' roles that it really made an impression on me. He looks completely different and he gives a wonderfully creepy performance of a psychopath. Brilliant.
This is a film about a serial killer, so obviously there are some deeply unpleasant scenes. We see a couple of up close shots of the dead bodies, which most certainly aren't appropriate for children, hence the rating of 18. There isn't all that much violence though - most of the gory scenes are filmed after the event. It is more the all pervading feeling of evil that creates the uncomfortable and disturbing atmosphere - this is exacerbated by the doom-ridden music that is constantly in the background. All this makes the film full of menace and, ultimately, is what keeps the viewer watching, because there is the constant knowledge that something is going to happen. Unfortunately, that 'something' takes its time in coming - I certainly think pacing is an issue with this film.
I was quite surprised to find that a good part of the film was actually quite hard to follow. The murders, although horrifying, aren't all that interesting - we don't know anything about the dead people or why they were killed - they are just dead people about whom we find out very little. Perhaps I have just read and watched too much of this genre, but even with the deadly sins element, I wasn't all that impressed. What makes the film so good is the ending - the last half an hour, which involves a chase and then a very nasty twist really does keep you on the edge of your seat. I just would have preferred not to wait until the last quarter of the film before I really felt entertained. I then went back and re-watched the first three quarters of the film, which all made a lot more sense the second time around; however, I really would prefer that the film had just grabbed me the first time.
Based in an un-named city, there is very much a feeling that it could be absolutely any city - there is no attempt to place it whatsoever. Everything is very dark - some of it takes place at night, and others are in dim and dingy rooms, so it is naturally dark, but even when there are scenes outside in the daylight, it is raining, so the colours look very washed out. I was left with an impression of shades of green and brown, with the odd splodge of red, usually blood, to 'brighten' things up. Again, this all adds to the atmosphere - it could be any city, any time - all we know is that something really dreadful is going to happen. The final scenes, shot somewhere in the desert with electricity pylons all around, is the most attractive that the film gets, especially with the wide blue sky and fluffy clouds - however the events that take place detract from the attractiveness of the setting.
For such a classic film, I was rather disappointed with the extras. There are four audio commentaries, my least favourite type of extra. They undoubtedly give out an awful lot of information, but because each commentary is the same length as the film and involves watching the whole film again, I can't imagine that anyone but a film student is going to want to sit through it all. I would much rather have had a short behind the scenes documentary or a few interviews with the main actors. In case you are interested, however, the commentaries cover the screenplay, the acting, the cinematography and the sound/music.
I must admit I wasn't as thrilled with this film as I had thought I would be. Don't get me wrong, I still think it is worth watching, I just don't think it is the piece of perfection that many others seem to think it is. Sometimes hype is a very bad thing. However, there is no doubt that the ending makes up for an awful lot of flaws, so it is most certainly worth sitting through the duller parts in the knowledge that the best is yet to come. Just about four stars out of five.
The DVD is available from play.com for £5.99 (I bought mine from Sainsburys for £2.99, so worth looking there). There is also a two disc version available from play.com for just £3.94 - this has a lot more extras, so is probably worth buying if extras are your thing.
Running time: 127 minutes