When Seven (also stylized as Se7en) first came out in theaters, a lot of people said that the film was far too gory for them. However, with the recent trends around “torture porn,” it looks vanilla by today’s standards. The film is not gory in terms of blood and guts, it’s more depressing than anything else. But it’s not depressing just for the sake of being depressing. It’s deliberately upsetting to heighten the plot’s and visual theme’s effectiveness. It’s hard to believe that this film is almost three decades old. I think it’s held up well over time, and if viewers can get past some of the more disturbing parts, they’ll find it to be an entertaining masterpiece.
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The Movie Review
The story follows two murder detectives’ desperate search for a serial killer named John Doe. Detective William Somerset, is about to retire in a week (which is in seven days…get it?). David Mills is meant to be his replacement. During one case, Somerset and Mills arrive at a crime scene where an obese guy was allegedly murdered while eating spaghetti at his kitchen table.
Other cases they’re sent on in quick succession soon reveal a common thread: the seven deadly sins. As the psychopathic “John Doe” preaches to Detectives Somerset and Mills about one sin at a time, the story takes us from the mangled remains of one victim to the next.
Director David Fincher was frustrated with his directorial debut in Alien 3, and writer Andrew Kevin Walker was struggling to make it as a screenwriter in Hollywood. After finishing writing Seven, the script got passed around different studios until it reached Fincher, who was fascinated by the story’s what’s-in-the-box ending. This probably inspired the director’s following movies, such as Gone Girl and Zodiac, crafting incredibly meticulous revenge stories for different scenarios. For ordinary people like me, it’s always interesting to see how people would carry out those crimes in a realistic setting.
The visuals are easily one of the film’s strongest elements. Many unusual cinematographic techniques are used, especially in the opening credit sequence, which has influenced many films in the future. Fincher clearly wanted to create an unpleasant, depressing mood, and it worked. Like most noir films, Seven is set in a metropolis where it always rains. The sets for some of the murder victims’ homes, as well as Mills’ apartment, are disturbing and unique in their own ways.
One thing I really liked about the movie was that it never shows the actual murder and instead leaves it up to our imagination. When it’s done that way, it somehow becomes more terrifying to see the aftermath of their brutal killing.
The protagonists, Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt are both excellent, but this isn’t their best work. However, people will forever remember their performance in “The Box” scene, so that counts. On the other hand, Kevin Spacey’s portrayal as John Doe is the main course, whose complex performance exposes all the colors of his character while effectively creating the genuinely necessary conflicted feelings toward Doe. Gwyneth Paltrow is also amazing, despite the fact that she shows up only a few times.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Seven is a great mystery crime film with outstanding performances by Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, and Kevin Spacey. Aside from a strong supporting cast, Seven has stunning and creepy visuals, as well as an eery musical score, the film just has a lot to offer.
It’s more than just a smart and intricate suspense thriller, it’s a film that touches on the dark side of humanity. Although it’s not as great as Fincher’s newer films, Seven is definitely one of his most unforgettable ones.