The movie, "Se7en", starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Gwyneth Paltrow, is by far one of the most inventive, well-written, and cerebral films in recent history. The film, blending a well put together combination of dark visual style, intense plot development, and polished acting, remains tight and focused throughout, from beginning to end, never straying outwards into unimportant issues, or resorting to typical Hollywood clichés. Se7en is uniquely on its own for suspense dramas as it both fuels the need of the audience to be drawn in and entertained by the events unfolding, and remain uncompromising and shocking, thus satisfying the initial vision of the director, David Fincher.
The story surrounds the hunt for a serial killer, who, inspired by Dante Alighieri's seven deadly sins from "The Divine Comedy", sets out to, "preach" about man's impurity, and does so by targeting victims, then torturing them by pitting their own underlining sins against them. Se7en seemingly starts out as a typical cat and mouse detective story, however, it quickly develops into of a sort of modern-myth, with good and evil taking centre stage. The story is original on all counts, and thrilling on all levels. The most important aspect of Se7en, however, is that it keeps the audience numerous steps behind its story, as oppose to other thrillers, which become predictable and bland by the end. By keeping the audience in the dark, the film remains fresh and original as it progresses. Se7en even dramatically turns the tide at one point, just as the audience is finally getting comfortable and asserted into the gloomy atmosphere, thus creating as much as fear and uncertainty in the audience as it is with the characters involved. By the film's conclusion, the audience is as much apart of the film as the characters themselves, and arrive at Se7en's surprise ending without a single clue of it, prior to it occurring. Se7en's poetic ending(which will not be given away) says a lot for the people behind the movie, showing they are not afraid of going against the grain. A rarity with films so nowadays.
Directed brilliantly by David Fincher, and skillfully written by Andrew Kevin Walker, Se7en is well crafted and ingeniously clever, making it one of the greatest films of the 90's. While Se7en may not have garnered critical acclaim as such films as Silence of the Lambs, Se7en is, undoubtedly, as influential as any film to date.
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.
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.
This movie is from start to finish a well produced and directed film. The performances in this movie are outstanding. Brad Pitt, once again, makes his role a stand-out performance by putting his versatile acting skills into his interpretation of Detective David Mills. Morgan Freeman is well-cast. His brooding acting style fits the character (Detective William Somerset) like a glove, and Gwyneth Paltrow gives her best performance EVER in the role of Brad Pitt's supportive wife/lover (Tracy Mills). And of course, Kevin Spacey who plays the diabolical yet misunderstood serial killer.
The movie is suspenseful and in parts very exciting. There is a "Pseudo-Noir" quality to this movie that really fits in well with the content of the film (Serial Killing). It has it's philosophical moments that anyone who thinks a lot about the state of the world today can appreciate. It makes subtle moral judgements without insulting any beliefs that the viewer may have and it also generates debate for any post-film coffee/drinks gathering.
Andrew Kevin Walker (Screenplay) has taken the subject of the Seven Deadly Sins and he really puts a great new twist on these themes. As a writer, I really could appreciate the depth that he goes into with these ideas. The movie gives us just enough information to be entertained and informed yet not bombarded and made bored with too much philosophy. In this respect, the film doesn't "preach" any special meaning even though the film's moral statements are still maintained. This film can be enjoyed on so many levels and I really enjoyed the third act. One of the best pieces of storytelling and scriptwriting ever.
Outstanding performances from everyone involved (And yes, of course, David Fincher does a wonderful job) Say no more. *****
Seven's quality puts it so far beyond most of the "cops on trail of deranged killer" genre that it comes out as a true jewel of cinema. Everything about seven is perfect. It is art captured on film. This movie is a bright spot for all of the stars who worked on it.
Brad Pitt never gets the credit he deserves for his acting because he's a pretty boy and the press is a lot more interested about how he and Jennifer are doing. That's a shame because he is a talented actor that isn't afraid to take chances with both the roles that he picks and the characters that he plays. That is quite rare in the A-list world. Morgan Freeman is a great actor. You can always count on him to do what he does best which is play a wise veteran that has seen it all. Kevin Spacey is another great actor that has great range and really puts life and personality into his characters.
The real talent of this movie, excluding the actors that brought it to life, is the director David Fincher and the writer Andrew Kevin Walker. Fincher's talents for making a visually stunning film are now well known and he often brings a dark patina to his work. Andrew Kevin Walker must have some incredible demons living inside him. Either that or one hell of an imagination for bringing the intricate story of Seven and the plan of John Doe to life.
John Doe's plan really is twisted and I won't be spoiling it here. Suffice to say I have never seen so evil and complicated a plan in a movie before or since. The cinematography of the film is dark but beautiful and throughout the film it is either night or raining or both except for two very brief moments. It is such an emotional movie that you can't keep from being caught up in what is happening. Do you understand and sympathize with what John Doe is doing or do you think him a mad killer that must be stopped.
Bottom Line: If you haven't had the opportunity to see Seven yet then you must at least rent it. It is so damn good that I know you will like it. The only reason you wouldn't is because you're just too damn fragile to take something this hardcore.
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.
Rarely there has been a movie with such a good dark and chilling atmosphere. I even see this movie more as an horror movie than as a thriller because of that. "Se7en" is unique in many ways. The movies mood is already set right from the beginning on. The movie starts dark, intense, chilling and mysterious, a mood that is present throughout the entire movie. It's very depressing to watch and I mean that in a positive way of the meaning of the word. The mood is set by good camera work and lighting, or better said, the lack of it. The music from acclaimed composer Howard Shore also adds to the chilling atmosphere. Unlike many other movies from the same genre, the movie is slow paced and takes it time to develop the characters without falling into some obvious cliché's. The two main characters played by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt are presented as an unlikely police-couple that are different in many ways from each other but in a way that is also what makes them such a great couple. Brad Pitt for once has the opportunity to play more than just the pretty boy and he does it with success. Kevin Spacey truly plays a bone chilling character, almost just as legendary and chilling as Hannibal Lecter. I would very much like to see the two of them put in the same room, just to see who would make it out alive. Further more it was great to see R. Lee Emrey again as the police captain. The movie is filled with some truly gross, sickening and horrifying scene's, this seriously ain't no kids stuff! The movie has some of the most sickening murders I have ever seen featured in a movie. But it aren't just only the gross scene's that are good, there are also some scene's that are made with lot's of beauty and profession such as the library scene. Dark and chilling movie that you will never forget also thanks to the ending which I will not spoil for you. A real must see. 10/10
Gothic, shocking, suspenseful, disturbing and clever, `Seven' marked a new beginning for director David Fincher's career. This dark tale of murder and crime revolves around two detectives in present New York city played by two brilliant actors `Brad Pitt' and `Morgan Freeman' who are paired together to solve a puzzle of murder that is at the hands of a man who kills regarding to the seven deadly sins. Both actors displayed striking performances that are so sharp and realistic sometimes you have to remind yourself that's its all acting.
David Fincher's masterpiece really gives us an opportunity of a lifetime, maybe it's one that we don't all wish to share, but by seeing this movie you will experience a glimpse of the horrors that this world is filled with, and a small piece of mind of a man who you only prey you never have to meet.
Brad Pitt successfully proves to us that he's not just a pretty face on screen, and that he sinks into his character so well, that you can walk off after the film finishes classifying him as a pretty darn good actor.
You wouldn't expect anything else from Morgan Freeman because it's perfectly obvious that this guy was born to play the roles of the smart detective.
David Fincher's timeless directing and memorable filming captures all the goods that this film has to offer and will undoubtedly leave you shocked and begging for more films like this. Seven is a step into the harsh realities of life, a realistic portrayal of two detectives investigation into the un-describable horrific world murder, and the darkest realms of the human soul.
We can only prey for more classic memorable work from Mr. Fincher and for those future directors who are intent on making a gothic, psychological thriller, make sure you sit down and watch Seven with a pen and paper ready to take notes.
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.
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.
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.
Seven is directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker. It stars Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey and R. Lee Ermey. Music is scored by Howard Shore and cinematography by Darius Khondji.
An unnamed US city and two cops are on the trail of a serial killer who kills his victims according to which one of the seven deadly sins they have committed.
Having been stung by the studio interference and negative fall out regarding his directorial debut feature film, Alien 3, David Fincher waited three years before committing to a project that he had control over. The result was Seven, a dark masterpiece of unremitting creeping dread that showcased the work of a clinically excellent director. Seven is not just a movie, it's an experience, an assault on the senses, a jolt to the brain, a trawl through the dark recess of some sick city where it always rains and the darkness holds many fears. This is no boorish slasher movie, it's psychological discord 101, we only see the aftermath of crimes, the discussions of which forces us to delve deep into our own imagination to fill in the blanks, forcing us to go where we don't want to go, you sense the director is somewhere gleefully pulling our strings.
"But that's the point. We see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it's common, it's trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon, and night. Well, not anymore. I'm setting the example. What I've done is going to be puzzled over and studied and followed... forever"
Seven is very much an ultimate horror film, really is there anything more scary than a serial killer who is smarter than the cops chasing him? Not only that but they are, oblivious as they be, part of the master plan. This killer is not only unstoppable in perpetrating his violent crimes, he is, as Freeman's weary retirement bound Detective Somerset says, methodical and patient. It's going to end bad, the cops know it and so do we, and that's when Fincher and Walker stick their hands into our guts and pull out the last semblance of solids to deliver one of the greatest endings of modern cinema. An ending fit to grace any noir, neo-noir or smart ass psychological horror movie from across the ages. With each viewing of Seven there's the repeating wave of bleak emotions that come as the reversed end credits roll, desolation and disbelief, sadness and shock, our trip through earthly hell is over, but only in the psychical sense!
Faultless cast performances, no doubt eked out by what we now know is a task-master director, photography that brilliantly brings to "light" the melancholic sheen of a decaying society and a Howard Shore score that crawls out of the speakers and cloaks your body like some evil Incubus or Succubus. Seven, a masterpiece of unease and evil wrung out by a master director. 10/10
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
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.
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.
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.
`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.
In 1995 David Fincher released a perfectly constructed modern masterpiece; Se7en. One of the most exhilarating experiences of all-time and a classic to come.
A cop; Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) has just moved into the city with his wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow) in hope of finally settling down. Mills will take over the job of Detective Lt. William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) an old cop who has seven days until his retirement begins. Both are dedicated to the badge. They are put together on the case of an obesity murder, in which a man has been forced to 'eat till he bursts'. This then leads to another murder scene in which a lawyer has bled to death, although the murderer didn't actually use the knife; he made the lawyer do it. This is just the beginning of a mass murder masterpiece crafted by the insane John Doe, brilliantly played by Kevin Spacey.
Whatever you do while watching it, do not see it as hollow. Se7en is far from it. Many scenes study civilisation; present civilisation. And its evil. Our society isn't a pleasant one. The film concentrates mainly on the cops search; when it comes to the mystery part in finding the killer, we discover the policemen's differences in methods, and how the most obvious one does not actually work. Of course, its Somerset, the one with the most experience who has the best way. He tries to find out why. Why some man is killing these people using a specific punishment. While Mills tries, unsuccessfully, to find out how; by studying the crime scene for clues. He ends up bored. With the help of the library, Somerset gets closer to the murderer. It may seem as though the role of Tracey is a pointless part, but she is more important than anything. She is the one who brings the men to being more personal with each other. Notice how in the dinner scene she is the one to introduce them by name. All making the climax tense and difficult.
Mills is the kind of guy to pull his gun out before his torch. He has an arrogant sense of things though is 'by the book' and works. Somerset has never even fired his weapon. He sees the evil round him. And he wants to leave it. Though he is a cop so he has the permission to do something about it. But the problem is, he isn't doing anything about it. John Doe is. The reason why society is evil is because we are allowed to sin. There is now nothing stopping us. It has become a common factor of life. And there should be. That is why John Doe thinks his behaviour is OK. But the problem is he is being stopped instead of the crime out there. This is the harsh reality we live in.
There are seven deadly sins. Gluttony. Greed. Sloth. Pride. Lust. Envy. Wrath. And seven ways to die.
Kevin Spacey is amazing as John Doe, portraying insanity perfectly. One of the greatest supporting performances of all-time already. And he's only in it for half an hour. Brad Pitt delivers a kind of forced performance which adds to the Hollywood effect of the film though I couldn't imagine anyone else for the part. Morgan Freeman played his role with the greatest concentration. Throughout he needed a look of woe on his face. And he did just that.
The writing is extraordinary. The genius, Andrew Kevin Walker took an interesting subject and created an instant classic. But most credit has to go to Fincher. Who took aspects you wouldn't even think of looking at and filming it. Together they project a deep film on our screens that no-one should miss. In one scene near the end, he makes it so when a word is spoken we cut to a character as that gives us clues to their fate. A feast for the brain. One of the most imaginative scripts of the 90s. Fincher also knows exactly how to shoot the film. Whether it be steady-cam for the slow and easy parts or the hand-held camera for the adrenalin pumping scenes.
The cinematography is what makes this an excellent movie. Everything is dark. The world out there is rough, raw, grim and gritty. It does just that. The effect it makes is astounding and truly works. The sinister music that is added keeps the heart pounding throughout and keeps the audience uncomfortable, in a good way. As that's what the film tries to achieve. The opening credits are upon the greatest segment of film I have ever seen. The jumpiness makes you feel uneasy yet intrigued to keep watching. Every scene, due to the effort put in it, is masterful and is what makes the film a joy to watch and observe.
Se7en reveals the best glimpse we have seen of the disturbing underworld. One of my favourites and always will be.
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.
I won't bother with spoilers, as there are plenty of them in the other comments.
When all was said and done, my wife and I looked at each other and said "This is the scariest movie ever?"
What I saw was a run-of-the-mill "insane killer gets tracked down by the older, smart cop and the younger, gung-ho cop while manipulating everybody in the process". Perhaps I've become jaded, but I found nothing here that was particularly scary or mind-bending. A clever nut-job leads the police on a mad chase, punishing people as "sinners". The only difference between this and a half-dozen other serial killer movies is the theme of the killings and the fact that the killer turns himself in 3/4's of the way into the story.
This leads to the "twist" ending that seems to remain with so many people. I didn't find the "twist" horrific, though. I simply found it jarring. It didn't fit and it didn't particularly surprise me either. Once the killer decided to let Mills live, you knew he was going to mess with him somehow. The only surprise is the degree of what he did. As far as I'm concerned, they could have dispensed with the whole "wrath" setup and ended with John Doe's words to Mills - "You're only sitting here because I ALLOWED you to live and you'll know that every time you look in the mirror."
Instead, they had to go for a "shocker" ending. This is the "twist" ending that supposedly makes the movie.
Here's the thing, though - The ending doesn't fit the killer's MO. We're given every reason to believe that John Doe is clever, capable, and highly intelligent. He's on a mission. He believes in his mission. He punishes the guilty for their sins, not the innocent. Why, then, does he pick a completely innocent stranger and use her as a vehicle to brand himself as personification of Envy? If he really was envious of Mills (a fact that is highly doubtful), he was already deserving of punishment so why kill an innocent person to make the point? How does the manipulation of Mills into becoming Wrath actually punish Mills for having committed the sin of Wrath?
None of these things make any logical sense within the framework of the story. The ending is completely out of synch with everything we've learned about the killer, including his own statements. All you can do is shrug your shoulders and say "Well, you can't expect an insane killer to be logical." and that just doesn't sit right with me. Not after the buildup we were given concerning John Doe.
I can't recommend this movie. If you want to see a taut, disturbing film in this style (sans the insane serial killer) then rent "8 Millimeter" instead.
When audiences went to see the latest production of a tragedy by William Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre, there was a universal reaction by the spectators to what they were seeing on the stage. It was one of sadness, anger, sympathy and relief. The sadness was normally due to the innocent victim (who was usually a beautiful woman) being murdered in an unjustified fashion, such as Desdemona in 'Othello'; the anger would have been directed towards the villain in the play whose dastardly deeds had resulted in the deaths of heroes and heroines - here we have Iago, arguably the most evil character in the history of literature ('Othello' again); sympathy was not for the devil, but for the poor people who had overcome the denouement but had to deal with its consequences (Horatio perhaps in 'Hamlet', or maybe Father Laurence in 'Romeo and Juliet'); and lastly relief was felt because the audience had survived the play's violence and could thank their lucky stars that they did not have to live in a world so cruel. Now stay with me here, because there is, in fact, a point to all of this. I believe that Fincher's 'Seven' is the modern Shakespearean tragedy, the modern 'Titus Andronicus', if you will. The feeling that washes over you when the credits roll in Seven (which are damn good credits I might add, start and finish) is on a par with a great Shakespearean tragedy, and it is for this reason why I think that films such as Seven should be considered as more serious in a literary sense. Not only that, but the film even introduces the audience to legendary texts such as Dante's 'Inferno' and Geoffrey Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales' - so I would be inclined to try and influence more English professors to watch this film.
Now here's the part where I say 'Yeah Seven, woo, it's awesome! Yeah!'. I'm just going to go out and say it: this film has everything that you could possibly be looking for when watching a movie. The script, for one, is great. Original, funny in places, exciting, sexy...the list is endless really. Well played Andrew Kevin Walker; the boy done good. Next we have the acting which, to put in a Romantic sense, is sublime: people may argue that Morgan Freeman can only play one character, but I think it's similar to the situation with Hugh Grant (his one persona may be a bumbling, lovable fool, but he is damn good at it) and it's the same for Morgan. Here he is at his fatherly, worldly-wise detective best, and the comic double act of Freeman and Pitt is essential to the film. Pitt's performance is probably just about overshadowed by his portrayal of Tyler Durden in Fincher's other chef d'oeuvre 'Fight Club', but in no way is this a demeaning statement to Pitt. He is, or was, one of my favourite 'younger' actors (that's the Ed Norton, Johnny Depp ring, as opposed to the Pacino/De Niro/Hoffman circle of expertise) until 2005 came about - Ocean's 12, to put it mildly, disappointed me greatly. However, let's think positively: with Seven and Fight Club and Snatch, I'm sure Brad has something in store for fans like me. Gwyneth Paltrow is probably the unsung hero, or heroine, of the film and ironically she's the one who gets it worst (or does she? Refer back to tragedy point about sympathy). The words 'never better' spring to mind when thinking about Paltrow's 'Tracey'. There's someone else I'm not mentioning here, despite the 'contains spoiler' tick, but let's just say he/she/it provides, in my eyes, the greatest twist OF ALL TIME. Last but not least, David Fincher is where it's at. His undoubtedly cool style is the reason why this film is so...cool, for want of a better word. Thanks to him, Morgan Freeman is cool, Gwyneth Paltrow is cool, the man who works in that horrible place where the 'Pride' crime takes place is cool, even the man/woman/thing with no name is cool (to a certain extent).
To conclude, there are certain films that when the credits appear at the end, you think to yourself 'That has to be the best movie I've ever seen'. 'Reservoir Dogs' and 'L.A. Confidential' are prime examples. In my opinion, 'Seven' epitomises this type of film.
First off, I KNOW that I'm gonna get grief and derision from most here because, I'm sorry, but I don't really think this film is the be all, end all that everyone thinks it is.
YES, it is well made, directed, and acted; and the lighting is sharp which fits the nihilistic 'Noir'ish mood. And, yes, it was indeed pretty much the first of it's kind which set a gritty, dark tone for crime films to come. Fine... I really have no specific negatives about the movie. HOWEVER... At the end of the day did I personally really find it THAT entertaining...? Not really... Yes, the unexpected ending is both shocking and dramatic, but does it honestly make sense...? ***SPOILERS Keven Spacey clearly and explicitly states the reasons why he has committed these murders: That people are doing all these very bad things everywhere all the time and people just don't care; so, he is setting 'the example' of what people should be doing to punish these 'sinners'. Okay... Now we are supposed to believe then that out of the blue he kills a COMPLETELY innocent woman (who is also pregnant) which to me the SOLE purpose is for an (admittedly extremely dramatic and shocking) plot device to set up Mills to kill him...??? Come on... I don't buy it. It is TOTALLY contrary to the very motivation of Kevin Spacey's character. But yeah, what an ending, sure... *** END SPOILERS
Anyway, the question is, what do we find truly entertaining about a film? Putting stylistic touches or technical competence aside (such as visual effects, special or moody lighting, excellent cinematography, sound design, etc.) to me it primarily is this: How engaging or absorbing is the plot or story? How does it carry us along as it develops? How involving and complex are the characters and how interesting is the interplay and relationships between them? Now, these are just basics for most films. I realize that there are special genres or styles that we enjoy individually simply because we like those types of films (1950's Sci Fi, Slasher Horror Films, Ultra-Cheeeeezy Kung Fu movies, etc.) But, with this film at the end of the day what do we have...? Sure, we have this ghoulish, creepy, dark story of a killer who is killing by way of the 7 Deadly Sins. Okay... Characters...? Well, yes, all the actors concerned do a fine job; no real complaints there. BUT...! How deep or complex are they? How fascinating are they really? How engaging and intriguing are their interactions? To me personally, I felt that both the plot and character development to be rather shallow and superficial. I mean, WHAT do we really know about them? How deeply are we drawn into their lives and relationships? I'm sorry, but to me I really don't see a whole hell of a lot going on here other than a bunch of neatly lit, dark and somewhat moody scenes with little or no real substance. And the overall 'message' we are left with? The quite trite, common, and ultimately boring 'No one cares because the evil that people do is so arbitrary and horrible, so what's the point?' Yeah, real depth there...
So, yeah, the film is well put together and there's nothing really 'BAD' about it per se; but, I do not feel myself that after all is said and done that you walk away from it with much of anything. There are darker and FAR more entertaining Horror films out there; and there are also dark, gritty, and INFINITELY more complex and engaging crime films out there. Films where afterward you actually feel like you have either been truly entertained by a story that makes you think and guess and wonder and also with characters who make you feel and care MUCH more about them because they are portrayed in a better, fuller, and more complex way.
So, do I like dark, ambiguous, moody films? YOU BET! Do I like the dark, even nihilistic overtones of period FILM NOIR? ABSOLUTELY! Do I even like films with little substance BUT have TONS of style and mood (a la David Lynch, say) YES SIREE!!! But to me, this film, although of good quality, honestly strikes me as a 'One-Note' simplistic film and I just do NOT quite buy into the ending at all; it is merely a completely nonsensical plot device to give us a slam-bang ending.
I mean, just a random example that comes to mind, I've seen Sandra Bullock's crime film 'MURDER BY NUMBERS' like 3 times and I've fully enjoyed it each time. You have a main character that is extremely complex and engaging; you have antagonists that are thoroughly riveting and with a layered relationship that is completely fascinating. And, you have a story that as it unreels truly draws you into the psyche, feelings, and motivations of the characters. And this is just an off the top, fairly above average example; nothing Earth shaking or anything, but just a simple example of what a movie is SUPPOSED to be. Entertaining...
But, I will say this though... It has to have probably THE best opening credit sequence and background song ever!!!
For this film though, I seriously doubt that I would ever really have the desire to sit down and watch it again...
*** EDIT (2015.02.14)
Heh, I'm actually thinking about giving this another chance and watching it again... :) I'm curious if my impressions will still be the same...
`Se7en' is all about harsh style and gruesome substance while it's probably not a film for everyone (particularly the squeamish), it is one of the most moody, memorable films made in recent years. A sense of absolute dread pervades each and every scene, either from the powerful words and deeds of the characters or from the dreary sets and atmosphere created by director David Fincher. There's a quote from the film `The Crow' that goes, `It can't rain all the time' . . . well, in the world of `Se7en', it can and it does.
`Se7en' is the story of world-weary police detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman), a man who's probably seen more terror and sadness in his lifetime than any man should ever be forced to see. Partnered with the young cop David Mills (Brad Pitt), Somerset is assigned to find the serial killer known only as John Doe. The horrific crimes of Doe are patterned after the Seven Deadly Sins for Gluttony, one victim was literally forced to eat until his internal organs exploded; for another, Greed, the victim is forced to cut an actual pound of flesh away from his own body. John Doe is a highly literate, intelligent killer; but so is Somerset, and an astounding game of cat-and-mouse filled with unexpected twists ensues as the hunt for Doe gets underway.
Andrew Kevin Walker's script for `Se7en' is absolutely dazzling. It's smart and powerful, and doesn't pull any punches the bodies, maimed and tortured, inexorably begin to pile up in graphic fashion, and Somerset and Mills aren't allowed to minimize the horrors they're forced to find. Each new corpse brings a true feeling of revulsion . . . and of dread, as the realization hits that another body will be forthcoming unless John Doe is found. The story is filled with misdirection and red herrings; just as the audience starts to think that the unfolding events of the film are starting to become predictable, the film lurches further into the unknown darkness, keeping the edge of uneasiness that pervades `Se7en' fresh . . . and constant. Kudos also to David Fincher's stylish direction this may be Fincher's best film to date. The entire look of the film is dark and gloomy, almost a suicidal form of 1940s film noir, evoking a despairing atmosphere that never relents or shows a glimmer of optimism. Combine that with Fincher's knack for turning even the most mundane scene into a nailbiter `Se7en' features a scene with Somerset and Mills standing together in an empty field, and yet the scene is still incredibly tense and `Se7en' becomes an exceptionally powerful, disturbing film that's difficult to turn away from.
The cast? Also excellent. Pitt is perfect as the cocky young detective Mills, mixing together the right amount of bravado and testosterone at the start of the film, and then later tempering that swagger with cynicism and fear as the movie progresses forward. In a way, Mills is a surrogate for the audience; he starts out thinking that he knows exactly what's going to happen but as events slowly unfold before his horrified eyes, it starts to dawn on Mills that he is mentally unprepared he is for a maniac like John Doe. Pitt handles the decline of Mills from overconfident to completely paranoid with great skill. The killer John Doe (I won't reveal his name here; the actor's uncredited in the film, so I won't mention it either on the off chance that you haven't read it elsewhere) is simply great. He's a quiet, intense figure who is Machiavellian with his calculated words and actions. Many other actors might've just mimicked Hannibal Lecter to portray John Doe . . . but the awesome performance in `Se7en' of the uncredited actor is actually better and more unsettling than Lecter himself. The best performance of the film, however, may belong to Morgan Freeman as Somerset. Freeman is perhaps the only person capable to tracking down John Doe, simply because he has seen so much sadness and horror before. Nothing Doe does, no matter how vile, is able to derail the detective's efforts. As Somerset, Freeman imbues the character with a certain tired, weary attitude . . . but still lying somewhere beneath that attitude is hope, and that small glimmer of hope, along with the wisdom of experience, is what prevents `Se7en' from spiraling into complete despair. Somerset's hope, small as it is, becomes the audience's hope as well.
With the possible exception of the very end of the film for all its daring audacity, Fincher chooses to play it a little too safe at the film's conclusion `Se7en' proves to be an uncompromising tour de force of modern horror. If you're not easily bothered by graphic horror and gore, then go watch this film. You certainly won't be disappointed. Grade: A
David Fincher's "Se7en" is one such movie that blurs the line between a giallo horror and a psychological thriller. "Se7en" sets a mood which is chilling, dark and puzzling. A mood that is present all through the entire movie. The mood set is the excellent work of director David Fincher, who wanted to give dark and gloomy atmosphere to the movie just to expose a world which is rough, bleak and gritty. The effect it makes is astounding and is does so by good camera work and lighting, or the lack of it. The cameras used in this film was specially changed film stock to make the visuals look as dark as possible which is complemented well by Howard Shores music score. The ominous music that is added keeps the audience uncomfortable, in a good way. If it wasn't for disturbing message that "Se7en" puts across, and astonishing dark scenes, I would have not given the rating I gave.
The assignment of roles in the movie is excellent, even though I loathed Brad Pitt's character. Brad Pitt's character was at times annoying and glorified. All he did was slow down the overall investigation process. His weak presence makes it seem that he was never the Lead or the Assistant detective in the investigations of the crime. All he said was excessive swear words and not something tangible and due to this reason, his interaction with Morgan Freeman's character was frail. At times I felt Morgan Freeman's character would have done a better job leading the investigation alone. The conversation in the police car was really insubstantial. I would have really despised this movie it wasn't for the phenomenal acting by 'actor who played the Killer'. It would've been so much better if Brad Pitt's character wasn't such a weak character and if he just stop talking at times and listened to the astute Morgan Freeman's character. Whilst watching the movie I wholeheartedly wanted to despise on Brad Pitt's character and to an extent Brad Pitt himself but having watched and loved Brad Pitt in David Fincher's Fight Club I often found myself forcibly liking Brad Pitt's character and justifying his decisions and his exchange of ideas but I failed. Morgan Freeman's was excellent in the role of a veteran detective and a wise mentor for Brad Pitt's character
The biggest sin in this movie is perhaps not the character but the ending. I found the ending awfully predictable. I could have seen that one of our main characters would eventually be one of the 'victims'. Especially after getting to see the 'wife' and she revealing something crucial at a buildup stage just screamed that she was going to die. The buildup was for nothing if it wasn't for the predictable ending. I had a tiny hope for something magnificent and grimy, since the killer's talk about the sins and how his killings were justified but the killer too just disappointed me in the end. Also it made me dislike Brad Pitt's character that much more, because I was hoping he wouldn't shoot the killer, and that I might get a reason to respect him as a character. I don't care how if a certain movie has a happy or a sad ending, but this movie would've ended on a strong note if he hadn't killed the killer. The director could have found another way of exhibiting the last sin. Morgan Freeman's character could have and should have done something more in preventing the last 'execution'. After all he is the one who saw clearly what the killer's grand plan was. The ending scene was one big anticlimax and thus this movie could have been my second favorite David Fincher movie following Fight Club if not my second favorite movies of all time.
Note: I used 'actor who played the Killer' instead of revealing the actor's name is because David Fincher wanted the killer's identity to be a surprise and I shall oblige.
i love this film, it is the ultimate thriller film, everything about se7en is brilliant. the cast are well picked and make the best contributions, the main characters Somerset and Mills are portrayed perfectly through Freeman and Pitt. in my opinion this is both Pitt and Freeman's best film, they still have not outshines there fantastic performances. Paltrow as mills wife was a good choice though there are a few other actresses that could have played this part, though i think that what paltrow brought to the role was the fragile emotional side of the character, so i am pleased that she played this part so well. the director is my favourite of all time, Mr David Fincher! he is a fantastic director, not just for this film but for his other films like fight club. he gets fantastic results from his cast and crew and makes the perfect film. and as i'm a budding editor myself i have to mention the fantastic edit on the film, by the editor Richard Francis-Bruce, i do love the edit on seven as he cut at hit points and generally did well.
if you haven't watched it watch it, if you've seen it seen it again! i certainly will.