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Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

Director:

David Fincher
Popularity
319 ( 26)
Top Rated Movies #21 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 26 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Morgan Freeman ... Somerset
Andrew Kevin Walker ... Dead Man at 1st Crime Scene (as Andy Walker)
Daniel Zacapa ... Detective Taylor at First Murder
Brad Pitt ... Mills
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Tracy
John Cassini ... Officer Davis
Bob Mack Bob Mack ... Gluttony Victim
Peter Crombie Peter Crombie ... Dr. O'Neill
Reg E. Cathey ... Dr. Santiago
R. Lee Ermey ... Police Captain
George Christy ... Workman at Door of Somerset's Office
Endre Hules ... Cab Driver
Hawthorne James ... George the Night Guard at the Library
William Davidson William Davidson ... First Guard at the Library (as Roscoe Davidson)
Bob Collins Bob Collins ... Second Guard at the Library
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Storyline

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 <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Detective Somerset is looking for a way out. Detective David Mills is looking for a way in. Now, they're caught in a game with a price of sin is death. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for grisly afterviews of horrific and bizarre killings, and for strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 September 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Se7en See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$33,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$100,125,643

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$327,311,859
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The primary influence for the film's screenplay came from Andrew Kevin Walker's time spent in New York City while trying to make it as a screenwriter. "I didn't like my time in New York, but it's true, that if I hadn't lived there, I probably wouldn't have written Se7en." See more »

Goofs

Freeze-framing the film on the legible portions of John Doe's hand-written journal (while Somerset is turning pages) reveals one page identical to the preceding one. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Detective Taylor: 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.
William Somerset: Yeah, just look at all the passion on that wall.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are done over broken, blurred images of John Doe removing the skin from his fingertips and sewing it into his journals. See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Donald Glover: Weirdo (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Beginning
Written by Dorcas Cochran, Kay Twomey, Ben Weisman, and Fred Wise
Performed by The Statler Brothers
Courtesy of Mercury Records Nashville, A Division of PolyGram
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Somerset's World
13 August 1999 | by jpevotoSee all my reviews

Seldom does a film elucidate the culpability of our culture,of our society, in the mayhem and madness we often find in everyday life. According to Se7en, our culture is drifting through darkness. The mouthpiece for this thematic undercurrent is Somerset, a literate man who also happens to be a detective, a man who can read a clue ("This isn't going to be a happy ending") or Dante's Inferno with equal aplomb. He even provides the film's final thematic statement with a quote from Hemingway. His quirkiness, perhaps the outgrowth of a brilliant mind, is no worse than that of any prophet or seer of old, those harbingers of Biblical insight whom others always find kooky and offbeat. He is not well loved for his cynical, pessimistic outlook (such that his consuming motivation is to retire and get out of town). However, by the end it becomes clear that it is Somerset who sees our dark world with the prophet's particular clarity. (It is left to his partner Mills to find this out the hard way).

Working on us to reinforce this world as Somerset sees it is the film's astounding mise-en-scene, a disturbing film-noir setting developed by director David Fincher and cinematographer Darius Khondji. Flashlights barely illuminate the slimy walls of the roach-infested tenement of one victim and the dark bedroom of another. Rain pours down in buckets. Bird's-eye-view shots of downtown (the city is never named- a generic, everyman's kind of place) show dingy, sooty rooftops and grimy streets. Only the film's closing scene is in bright sunlight, which by then only serves as ironic counterpoint to what we see happening.

This is Somerset's vision; both inhabited and described by him. He finds a surprising fellow traveler in, not his partner, but the elusive killer John Doe. Doe shares the vision and provides an unsettling echo to the rumblings and teachings of Somerset. If one looks at life through the Somerset lens, one must admit that John Doe has a valid point. He and Somerset have arrived at the same conclusion, the difference between them being how they have responded. (Somerset longs to escape to some otherworldly realm in the country. Doe has taken action.)

Though gripping and fast moving, this is not an action film. It holds our interest through the workings of horror and mystery: a stark, film-noir detective piece. Except for one tense pursuit through halls and alleys in pouring rain, as well as the bit of ending action, there is surprisingly little violence. We see each murder, save two, after the fact, as a crime scene. This only makes the final act that much more suspenseful.

This is a very tight film. Elements within: dialogue, actions, lighting, setting, all of these tend to reinforce one another to paint a solid picture. It is a perverse logic that makes the final and seventh sin complete perfectly the circle of events begun with the first.


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