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Se7en More at IMDbPro »

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117 out of 131 people found the following review useful:

A dark and disturbing masterpiece.

10/10
Author: RedRoadster from London, England
6 May 2009

It is a rarity for a film to be completely unsettling and yet unrelentingly gripping.

David Fincher's story takes place in a bleak and constantly raining city (never named) where urban decay and sleaze in all forms are rampant. Coming up to his retirement from the police force is Detective Lieutenant Somerset (Morgan Freeman) who is tasked with breaking in his replacement, Detective Sergeant Mills (Brad Pitt) before leaving. Somerset is world weary, under no illusions about the futility of the daily role he plays and (initially) wants nothing more than to escape the grime and violence of the city. Mills on the other hand is convinced that he is going to make a real difference having voluntarily transferred to this precinct, bringing his wife to the city with him. Before Somerset can move on, a homicide comes in which he and Mills are assigned to investigate. But its only the first of a string of ritual murders that will be committed by a killer who is basing his crimes on the seven deadly sins as depicted in Dante's "The divine comedy".

To begin with, Se7en appears to be a standard "cops on the trail of a killer" story which shouldn't be too difficult for the audience to get comfortable with. But as we descend along with the characters into the merciless, brutal world without hope that they inhabit, you are left reeling at the events that unfold.

The two detectives enjoy an uneasy relationship with no real friendship ever striking up between them. The older Somerset is educated, astute and gives the impression of being emotionally burnt out. Mills, who has no respect for Somersets methodical investigating gets excited at the thought of solving a murder and firmly believes that the good guys will win eventually. The further we get into the action, the might of the evil that they face pushes both men beyond their limits.

This film draws heavily on biblical themes and you can certainly see similarities with such films as "The Seventh Seal" (1957). Both films show the price that good men have to pay when they fight evil and the unsettling truth that the rule book goes straight out the window when you are dealing with something so diabolical that it has no boundaries or limits at all.

Se7en shows us a world which has been destroyed by its own sins, a wasteland in which values are minimal. The killer, having nothing but contempt for this world, sees it as his mission to expose the faults and show everyone what they have become. It is a fascinating twist that when the killers motives become clearer, Somerset with his greater understanding actually feels some degree of empathy with him. This is lost on Mills though, whose level of clarity never reaches the same point.

A previous reviewer mentioned that you begin to expect the unexpected whilst watching Se7en and i completely agree. Eventually if you think of the most obvious outcome in any situation and predict that the opposite will happen, it usually does. Even the finale itself became kind of predictable because by then you are conditioned not to have any hope. This is a minor flaw though because the story is so well and so shockingly told.

Director David Fincher didn't pick up another script for 18 months, such was his exhaustion and frustration following the completion of Alien 3. Apparently he agreed to direct se7en after one reading of Andrew Kevin Walkers screenplay because he was drawn to its hard hitting delivery about inhumanity. He stated: "It's psychologically violent. It implies so much, not about why you did but how you did it". For the camera work specially altered film stock was used to make the visuals look as dark and unsettling as possible which is complemented well by Howard Shores music score.

The Most disturbing message that Se7en puts across, is that the fight against evil is destined to be a Pyrrhic victory. But regardless the only thing we can do is fight on whatever the cost. We have no other choice.

"The World is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part.

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120 out of 152 people found the following review useful:

Superbly crafted drama delves into darkest corners of the psyche

Author: pooch-8 from Fargo, North Dakota
16 August 1999

David Fincher's bleak, relentless, and ultimately terrifying crime thriller Seven transcends other films of the genre with incredible plotting (the sort Hitchcock might employ were he alive and making films in the 1990s) and scalding intelligence. With only a small handful of minor flaws -- the overly familiar retiring cop/young cop pairing; the awful "I'm taking you off the case!" cliche seemingly required by the genre; one giant lapse in logic in the downward spiral toward the conclusion that cannot be revealed without ruining the script's gruesome surprise -- Seven typically keeps its viewers imprisoned in their seats with a combination of morbid fascination and abject fear. Despite attempts by studio executives to alter Andrew Kevin Walker's ending, the filmmaking team prevailed and audiences experienced that rare treat of mainstream cinema: an uncompromising vision.

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102 out of 123 people found the following review useful:

An uncompromising story, filthy, grainy visuals and terrific performances make Se7en a modern classic

Author: gjgillett from Dublin, Ireland
12 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Se7En Se7en is just one of those movies that burrows deep under your skin and festers. Director David Fincher and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker have created a bleak, desolate world where there are no real heroes, only sinners. An uncompromising story, filthy, grainy visuals and terrific performances make Se7en a modern classic. Det. William Sommerset (Morgan Freeman) has seen the human spirit at its worst throughout his 34 years of police service. He finally realises he has had enough of the horrors of the world and he becomes ready for retirement. David Mills (Brad Pitt) is a brash, hot-headed rookie cop who believes his big break lies in the murky, seedy unnamed metropolis. Amidst some cynicism, Sommerset takes on Mills as a partner for his last days. When two murders occur within two days of each other the duo realize that a serial killer is murdering his victims in accordance with the seven deadly sins: gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy and wrath. What follows is a terrifying and disturbing story of the dark side of human nature. Fincher's Noir York with endless rain, rain that fails to wash (to quote Travis Bickle) the filth off the streets, is a harsh look into urban life where decency is a rarity. Along with his cinematographer Darius Khondji, paints the screen with dark greys, blacks and yellow to hint at the rotting core of this environment. Freeman gives the film its most complex performance and moral core. His detective has grown weary of apathy and he slightly suggests an understanding of the despicable killer. On that note, Kevin Spacey delivers a chilling portrayal, a killer with a blankly human face and disturbing conviction. Writer Walker has written a cop-genre film with impeccable substance. Rather than a whodunit or an action movie, he has given birth to a story that pokes and prods at our psychic. It forces us to confront ourselves and question the next time we eat too much, or take too much time gelling our hair or even lash out in road rage. He questions our day-by-day apathy and ignorance to the savagery of human existence in a time of war, poverty, cynicism and most importantly sin.

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89 out of 104 people found the following review useful:

Stand out Thriller thanks to Fine Cast.

10/10
Author: John Bale from Australia
21 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A stand out film dealing with a particularly unpleasant Serial Killer, "Se7en" (along with "Silence of the Lambs"), is something of a milestone in this genre. An intelligent script, and admirable actors including the excellent Morgan Freeman, Prad Pitt, Gwenth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey, with a cinema noir style, and very grisly murders representing the Seven Deadly Sins. It is the performances however that lifts this movie above the average, Morgan Freeman as the older world wise detective, Pitt almost manic as his young enthusiastic sidekick, Poltrow plays the wife with a fine degree of sensitivity, and Spacey does his usual brilliant psycho routine. There is a pivotal scene with Freeman and Paltrow in a café which shows the depth of performances here. They are believable characters in a dark disturbing world wherein it always seems to be raining. An effective thriller with tight direction and atmospheric photography.

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83 out of 113 people found the following review useful:

one of the best-made films of its era and genre

9/10
Author: (winner55) from United States
14 October 2007

Despite clichés, and a very depressing finale, this is one of the best-made films of its era and genre.

The strengths of the film include an odd relationship between the two lead cops, who seem loosely based on the two lead cops of the "Lethal Weapon" series, but who (thankfully) never play for laughs, and never really become "buddies" - the young cop is too arrogant, and the older cop has too much experience, which the young cop refuses to acknowledge. The two characters are also brilliantly acted by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt (probably his best performance).

There's one odd flaw in the film - about half-way through, I found that I had learned to "expect the unexpected" from the film, which meant that the rest of the film was predictable in a bizarre way - simply decide where the expected move would be, and then expect the unexpected move instead. The most obvious instance of this is in the finale itself, which could be guessed at least 5 minutes ahead of time.

Normally, this would be a formula for disaster - but fortunately, the high quality of the film-making twists the film into an edge-of-the-seat suspenseful waiting game as we watch with horror the one cop's encounter with the insanity of pure evil.

I didn't want to admire this film (to be honest, I dislike Brad Pitt something fierce), but I'm afraid I must - very professionally made, it delivers its promised suspense all the way.

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78 out of 116 people found the following review useful:

The best Hollywood has produced for a long time

9/10
Author: supah79 from Netherlands
28 July 2005

After the Alien-debacle Fincher proved all the critics wrong. This film is one of the best in a genre that hasn't been very innovative for a long time.

Everyone know's the story by now, so I won't waste time telling it. This film was trend setting with it's dark, gritty look and opening sequence. We still see it copied in movies and TV-series today. Everything is great about this film. I guess if anything, the weakest link in the film is Pitt, who is grossly overshadowed by Freeman. But let's not look for flaws when there really aren't any. The script is intelligent and uncompromising. The direction is innovative en daring. The production-design and cinematography are top-notch.

Fincher is one of the big boys in Tinseltown these days. Seven is the reason why.

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46 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

No one is without sin

9/10
Author: B N from Canada
31 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of those dark movies, where it's constantly raining and wet and where the light always seems to be dim. Appropriately enough, this changes to bright and shimmering heat in the very end. As a kid, I hated dark movies. But perhaps it is appropriate in this case, because Seven attempts to be a statement about humanity: no one is without sin.

The seven deadly sins are gluttony, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and wrath. Prime examples of people committing these are being punished one by one, brutally and efficiently, by a psychopathic killer. Detectives, and reluctant partners, William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and David Mills (Brad Pitt) are assigned to track down the killer. Needless to say, the job gets accomplished. While some might argue it is done surprisingly, I'd argue otherwise.

For once, I wasn't impressed with Pitt's acting. I thought Freeman did a great job. As usual, the villain, John Doe played by Kevin Spacey, provides a chilling performance, even though he is not given as much center stage as, say, Anthony Hopkins was in Silence of the Lambs. In fact, the whole movie seems to hurry through without giving key characters enough time to build up their emotional worth, particularly Mills' wife Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow).

In the end, Seven does manage to get its point across effectively. While watching the movie itself, I thought it a bit anti-climatic, but when mulling it over later, the images echo very strongly in my mind. One of the most disturbing films I've seen.

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40 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Superbly done

10/10
Author: gardenwriter from Northeastern PA
11 November 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love psychological thrillers and this is one of the best I've seen. Morgan Freeman was elegant and convincing as a burnt out cop who wanted to retire but found the fascination of the job tough to let go of. Brad Pitt made the transition from cocky new guy to serious cop vry convincingly. And what can I say about Kevin Spacey who is always excellent. (Except to wonder why his name doesn't appear in the opening credits - I looked three times.) And Gwyneth Paltrow as Pitt's wife was as fresh and charming as ever. I truly enjoyed the performances of all the main cast members.

The best part of this film is that even when the killer is caught the suspense isn't over. In fact - it may be just beginning.

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30 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

The best thriller ever made

10/10
Author: billreynolds from usa
7 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Se7en is a very complex and deep movie, while also being quite disturbing. Andrew Kevin Walker created one of the most original spec screenplays of all time, but it is the kind of story traditionally used more as a writing sample than actually made into a movie. But the creative team of director David Fincher believed in this extremely dark, uncompromising story, and made it just the way Walker wrote it.

The story revolves around two extremely well-drawn characters, David Mills (Brad Pitt) and William Somerset (Morgan Freeman). In one sense their relationship is the ultimate cliché -- the old veteran cop paired up with the brash rookie (though Mills is not actually a rookie, just new to the unnamed city where the movie takes place). But the contrast between these two characters is played out not for laughs or cheap drama but as the real working out of a moral question. Somerset, the lonely, cynical older detective, cares about people but has seen too much of the dark side of life to have much hope for society. Mills is not as intelligent as Somerset (kudos to Pitt for being willing to play a character that frequently looks foolish), and he lives by a simplistic belief in the power of law enforcement to change the world.

Throughout the movie, the two characters struggle with this conflict -- is human society basically rotten, and can one person do anything to make a difference? Somerset, an intelligent, well-read man, is smart enough to recognize the truth, however painful that is. Mills is the kind of person who has never truly questioned the simple "values" he was raised with. Somerset tries to educate him, tries to warn him, but ultimately fails.

In the end, it is only John Doe, the serial killer, who can teach Mills (and by extension the audience) the truth -- that this world is very often shockingly vicious and senselessly cruel. Doe and Somerset actually have similar views of society and the world, up to a point. But while Somerset still cares about his fellow human beings, Doe hates them, and takes out his rage in a series of gruesome murders based on the seven deadly sins.

This movie is about the investigation Mills and Somerset undertake of Doe's murders, his "sermon" to the world through serial killing. Ultimately, Mills and Somerset can only do so much to try to stop Doe; the killer always seems at least one step ahead of them, and stays that way until the very end of the movie. In a normal Hollywood film, Mills and Somerset would "win" in the end by catching Doe and setting the world right again. But Andy Walker had a quite different ending in mind, and Fincher and his team take the shocking conclusion all the way to the limit of tension and drama.

This movie, like Fincher's "Fight Club," was controversial for being violent and gruesome. Certainly there are a number of gruesome and disturbing images of murder victims' bodies, and many aspects of the story are very troubling, to say the least. But only one person is shown being killed on screen, and by far the worst of what happens in this story happens in the viewer's imagination. Unlike most films that have high levels of violence -- including, for example, Reservoir Dogs or Silence of the Lambs -- this movie genuinely attempts to grapple with the moral implications of what is being shown on screen. In direct contrast with, say Quentin Tarantino, who uses extreme violence for shock effect and to gain notoriety, Fincher actually shows less violence on screen and raises far more probing moral questions in the viewer's mind. I cannot think of any movie that contains as much genuine debate and discussion among the characters about crime and human morality as this one does -- while never becoming dull or preachy for a moment.

I cannot finish this review without a word about Mr. Fincher's extraordinary visual talents. This is a man who ranks with the top handful of directors of all time in his knowledge and grasp of film-making technique. Everything from set design to lighting, selection of film stock and processing techniques, camera movement, frame composition, and editing work together to create an entirely new level of visual brilliance. Fincher's use of technique brings to mind nothing more than the work of Steven Spielberg in the 1970s, the last time a director this extraordinary burst onto the Hollywood scene. A whole generation has passed since then, and there is a new wave of techniques and tools available to the filmmaker of the nineties. Fincher uses every one of these tools to their utmost. The technical work and supporting actors are uniformly superb. This is a movie that works on every level. Andy Walker, having written a mind-blowing screenplay, must have been stunned when he saw the finished film. This movie will rock you to the core.

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27 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Top Serial Killer Movie

9/10
Author: mjw2305 from England
30 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Somerset, (Morgan Freeman) a deeply Intellectual Detective, with barely a week left until his retirement and Mills, (Brad Pitt) the new cop in town, who is a pretty weak detective, are thrown together to investigate what at first appears to be another Homicide.

After a second Victim is found, Somerset realises that this is no open and shut case, and requests that he is relieved, in light of his impending retirement. Mills gladly takes over the case and plunges himself in way over his head.

As the work of a Crimally insane genius continues, Mills grows more and more erratic, and Somerset simply has to remain, to guide his young partner through the case, which ultimately leads to one of the finest climax's in movie history.

With Wonderful Performances from both Freeman and Pitt and a really dark and morbid direction from David Fincher, the movie is crammed with suspense, intrigue and Excitement.

My Favourite scene is John Doe (Kevin Spacey) tearing into Mills in the car, driving towards the Climax, the acting is simply perfect as Pitt's character is torn apart by the genius of the Criminally insane, and Freeman interjects with insightful rationality, demonstrating his superior mind. The Scene Carries such intensity, and at the same time encapsulates the primary characters basic elements. Most actors can't achieve this level of character depth, but these are three of the finest actors of our time. 9/10

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