A film about two homicide detectives' (Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt) desperate hunt for a serial killer who justifies his crimes as absolution for the world's ignorance of the Seven Deadly Sins. The movie takes us from the tortured remains of one victim to the next as the sociopathic "John Doe" (Kevin Spacey) sermonizes to Detectives Somerset and Mills -- one sin at a time. The sin of Gluttony comes first and the murderer's terrible capacity is graphically demonstrated in the dark and subdued tones characteristic of film noir. The seasoned and cultured but jaded Somerset researches the Seven Deadly Sins in an effort to understand the killer's modus operandi while the bright but green and impulsive Detective Mills (Pitt) scoffs at his efforts to get inside the mind of a killer...Written by
Mark Fleetwood <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Surprisingly, this enjoyed some degree of success in post-revolutionary Iran, where it did well at the box office (this was prior to the hardline Iranian regime taking control, and effectively outlawing anything pro-Western). Its success in Iran can partly be attributed to the fact that the film's cinematographer, Darius Khondji, hails from that country. See more »
When Somerset returns to "Gluttony's" apartment, he cuts a police "keep out" sign to let him in. This sign is on the inside of the apartment when it should be on the outside of the door. It would be impossible for this sign to be placed on the inside unless someone remained in the apartment. See more »
Neighbors heard them screaming at each other, like for two hours, and it was nothing new. Then they heard the gun go off, both barrels. Crime of passion.
Yeah, just look at all the passion on that wall.
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Credits roll down instead of up, contrary to common movie procedure. See more »
USA laserdisc edition adds a few scenes deleted from theatrical release as a bonus at the end of the program, including: a prologue where Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is going to buy a country house. He uses his switchblade (seen many times in the final cut, but not explained) to cut out a small piece of wallpaper. There is an extended scene at the Mills' when David (Brad Pitt) is playing with his dogs, and Somerset talks to Tracy. He tells her about the house and shows her the wallpaper. She tells him that it wouldn't be such a good idea to show it to David, saying "He wouldn't understand.". These two scenes establish Somerset's characters better, and the second one helps the viewer understand why the wife chooses Somerset to talk to when she gets pregnant. She knows that Somerset is much more sensible than her husband, and will understand her. The second one however was probably dumped earlier since it is included among the dailies and outtakes and the first one appears as a deleted scene. See more »
Simply one of the darkest and best thrillers of the 1990's but don't let anyone spoil it for you.....
`Days from retirement' Detective Somerset is teamed with new-to-the-city Detective Mills to investigate a murder that quickly becomes a series. Somerset realises that the killer must be smart and is using classic literature to model his killings on the seven deadly sins, however Mills finds to hard to see him as anything other than a crazy man. With the killer close to completing his work, Mills and Somerset begin to close in on him. However nothing is as it seems in a dark depressing city full of moral degradation and apathy.
When David Fincher came onto the scene with his debut feature Alien3 the world only paused to scorn a film that didn't fit in with the Alien franchise. Yes it wasn't a great film but I loved the sense of mood, the dark the tension in the shadows that Fincher created. Years later we have Se7en, Fight Club, The Game, and at people are getting Fincher!
Se7en was his major break through where his dark visions also reaped box-office gold. The story doesn't sound like much mismatched partners (one young, cocky and reckless the other a few days from retirement) go after a serial killer who is carrying out a series of twisted murders ..it sounds like Lethal Weapon meets a straight to video thriller. But happily it rises above that by so much it's unbelievable .it certainly shows how a story put in good hands can work out. From the start we are entombed in mood the city where it always rains, the uncaring people etc. The we begin to find murders but Fincher doesn't show us the murders, he lets us see the aftermath in the shadows and lets us imagine the rest Genius!
What you don't see is more gory than what you do. Meanwhile the tension is cranked up to fever pitch as the race to catch the killer is accelerated. When we meet the killer, the film just gets better right up to an ending that is simply one of the most logical, emotional and gripping endings I've ever seen. I promise you'll leave the cinema shell shocked.
Freeman is excellent as Somerset so good that it's a role he's tried to do again in `Kiss the girls' etc. But here he is the perfect foil for both Mills and the killer. Brad Pitt is also superb....he isn't allowed to trade on his looks here and does very well in a film that has little opportunity for him to pander to his female fans he spends a lot of it looking beaten up. Paltrow is OK with what she has but this isn't really a film that focuses on female roles. R. Lee Ermey is as good as ever and it's a sign of how good the cast is that actors of the stature of Charles Dutton and John C McGinley are basically in roles that barely count as cameos.
However the best performance is from Kevin Spacey in the years before he became an Oscar lovie and stopped doing bad guys or dark characters. He is only on screen for a small portion of the film but his dialogue is superb and he delivers it faultlessly. In the scene where he shares a car ride with Mills and Somerset you literally hang on his every word. However alongside Spacey Fincher stands triumphant with his dark vision given the perfect story and perfect actors.
At heart this is a cop thriller but excellent performances, excellent mood and a moral lesson from an excellent Spacey make this quite simply the most jaw-droppingly excellent thriller of the 1990's.
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