Directed By: David Fincher
Written By: Andrew Kevin Walker
Staring: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, and R. Lee Ermy
I didn’t say I was different or better. I’m not. Hell, I sympathize; I sympathize completely. Apathy is the solution. I mean, it’s easier to lose yourself in drugs than it is to cope with life. It’s easier to steal what you want than it is to earn it. It’s easier to beat a child than it is to raise it. Hell, love costs: it takes effort and work. -Detective Sommerset
Yes, this is a re-post, but the former was a technical mess, so here is a re-post for 1001 Movie Club. Se7en is an eerie, dark, thriller that may be too ominous for your general viewer. During the course of the investigation of the murders we get to slowly and methodically know our main characters Sommerset and Mills, and we meet Mills wife played by Gwyneth Paltrow. An obvious real love and affection is developed between the two and it becomes apparent the man is head over heels with his wife.
The torture tale of Se7en begins with Brad Pitt (Detective Mills) who plays a new detective in the precinct, taking over for the retiring Morgan Freeman (Detective Sommerset). In the first homicide they are assigned, a grotesquely fat man was tortured by someone forcing him to eat himself to death. Sommerset immediately sees the qualities of a serial killer. Not only does he not want to end his career with another nightmare, he does not want the idealistic Mills to start his with it. It isn’t long before the two make the connection that this grisly killer is using the seven deadly sins as his format for murder.
The first sin, with the fat man, was Gluttony. Soon after more murders follow with equal brutality. A high priced lawyer is forced to remove his own stomach with a butcher knife, the word Greed is written in blood across his office wall. The next is a man who has been tortured for an entire year, and is barely alive, his crime Sloth. After that a hooker is killed in a most grim fashion, her crime Lust. Shortly after that a beautiful woman’s face is disfigured and she is given the choice to either call for help and live or swallow a bottle of sleeping pills and die. She opted for death. Her crime was Pride.
The film is not suspense driven and Fincher takes his time developing the plot and characters, but was this slower paced mood that actually makes the climatic events that much more intense. The visuals of the film are dark, gloomy. Every scene is dimly lit, and in most cases the outdoor scenes are masked by rain. That combined with the composure of Howard Shore gives you a feeling of almost no hope in the midst of a dark and withering world, where there is almost no light. The entire film gives this feeling of complete and utter dread. But Mills character is there to remind you, there is only hope. Even though the hope he represents is shattered by the end.
The quote that really captures the essence of the film is when Sommerset says to Mills after finding another murder:
“If we caught John Doe tomorrow, and it
turned out he was the devil… if it
turned out he was literally Satan, then,
that might live up to our expectations.
No human being could do these horrible
things, right?! But, this is not the
devil. It’s only a man.”
An interesting twist, we don’t see the actual killer until the end of the film, but it’s anticipated arrival did not let us down. John Doe, played by Kevin Spacey, was not only articulate but actually makes his argument for his deeds seem almost plausible, even agreeable. The end in which there has been much speak of over the years (What’s in the box????????) is shocking, twisted, and absolutely appalling, but it is Check Mate.
Se7en is possibly my favorite film of all time. It has every element of excellent story telling, the intricate look inside the head of a maniacal serial killer, and the development of characters that are unforgettable. It is a film that delves into the depths of mankind in darkest light. So many different emotions run like water during the course of it’s story. Be prepared to be shocked and dismayed. Pure genius film making.