Se7en (1995) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
1,332 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
"Se7en is well crafted and ingeniously clever, making it one of the greatest films of the 90's"
Insipid_Shell25 March 2002
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.

Score 10/10
723 out of 823 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Probably the greatest murder story ever
chvylvr8015 October 2003
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.
541 out of 649 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Somerset's World
jpevoto13 August 1999
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.
413 out of 495 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Dark and disturbing thriller that will stay with you for ever.
Boba_Fett113830 April 2004
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
266 out of 320 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Modern Masterpiece!!
tsatsas20 June 2002
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.
362 out of 441 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Outstanding Performances / Great Storytelling
purebace4 December 2003
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. *****
224 out of 273 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the best films ever made
ShyRaptor26 May 2017
"Se7en" (1995) is a true masterpiece. I have seen this film like a thousand times and every time I watch it again it's as disturbing as the first time. It's always intriguing from start till finish. This is one of the best stories ever told on screen. 10/10 for this motion picture, it's a true art. A must watch.
24 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Superbly crafted drama delves into darkest corners of the psyche
pooch-816 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.
135 out of 174 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
one of the best-made films of its era and genre
winner5514 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.
129 out of 173 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
David Fincher Strikes Again, With An Unwavering Thriller That Strikes Straight To The Heart
dommercaldi24 August 2020
Pros: 1. The score is beautifully ominous which only deepens the thrilling and unsettling atmosphere. 2. Brad Pitt (Mills), Morgan Freeman (Somerset), and Kevin Spacey (John Doe) give amazing performances. 3. The colour palette being dark and monotone helps to cement the gloomy and grim tone. 4. The gore and practical effects are immense and they still stand up 25 years later. The sloth, lust, and gluttony murders, in particular, stick in mind. 5. The great cinematography knows when to pull the camera back, as well as to draw it close for great effect. 6. Both Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt have great chemistry together. 7. The back-and-forth between Somerset, Mills, and John Doe in the police car is one of the most intense and captivating scenes in the history of cinema. 8. The movie presents the interesting and complex moral quandary of: is it immoral to kill the immoral? Even if those immoral people adversely affect other people? And who gets to decide who is immoral, and what punishment should be meted out to them? 9. Despite the underdeveloped character of Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), the conclusion is still one of the hardest hitting and iconic endings ever created.

Cons: 1. Tracy is a severely underdeveloped character, with her pregnancy-confessing scene to Somerset feeling lazily forced to add weight to the final scene.
11 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Simply one of the darkest and best thrillers of the 1990's – but don't let anyone spoil it for you.....
bob the moo29 March 2002
`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… 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.
39 out of 52 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Very grim and disturbing but you can't stop watching
preppy-314 February 2008
Detective Lt. William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is about to retire. He is teamed up with a young new detective David Mills (Brad Pitt). Together they try to find a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his M.O. Meanwhile Mills' wife Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow) fears for her husband's life and is very depressed.

Dark and depressing but just fascinating. Director David Fincher shots the entire film in dim light and shoves the victims mutilated bodies in our face. The grimness of the tone wears you down but that's appropriate considering the subject matter. No humor either. It all leads to a truly harrowing ending. There was supposed to be a happy ending but they (wisely) chose not to do it. Freeman and Pitt work very well together and both give excellent performances. I even thought Paltrow (who I hate) was good! Kevin Spacey is very good too in a small role.

If you have trouble with blood, gore and disturbing subject matter stay far away from this movie. But if you can handle that, watch this one. It's depressing and unpleasant but riveting.
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A brilliant postmodern film noir that is grim, intelligent and disturbing
TheLittleSongbird18 May 2010
From David Fincher, Se7en is a compelling and brilliant postmodern film noir. It is grim and disturbing but it is also very intelligent and daring. What I did love about Se7en especially is that it is incredibly stylish, beautiful dark cinematography and dazzling landscapes really do add to the atmosphere. Very little of the murders are shown but we are appalled and shocked by what we hear of them, the action is tense and the climax is shattering. There is also an intelligent screenplay, a clever plot telling of a vicious serial killer who murders his victims in a gruesome way to atone for the sins(gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy and wrath)he deems them to have committed and excellent direction. The acting is also superb, Morgan Freeman gives another brilliant performance as the disillusioned detective and Brad Pitt is great as Mills in a more meatier role than he has ever done. Gwyneth Paltrow makes a small yet significant appearance as Mill's uneasy wife, while Kevin Spacey superbly delivers equally superb dialogue as John Doe despite the fact he isn't in the film much. Overall, a brilliant film, with adept performances, direction, style and ambition. 10/10 Bethany Cox
20 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The best Hollywood has produced for a long time
supah7928 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.
88 out of 133 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
manoj-aryan16 June 2005
'He is preaching….punishing'.

Serial killing with clues from killer is not a new thing to Hollywood but David Fincher's Se7en exceptional. Its evil genius. Se7en opens with a homicide where a fatso is killed in a very strange manner. We meet Detective Somerset(Freeman) who is about to take off and detective David Mills(Pitt) has just fought to get assigned there. Somerset is calm, mature and has achieved mastery over his job. He probably seen so much that now he badly wants to go far away from this bloodshed. David appears cocky first but turns out amiable character of the film. Tracey(Palthow) is David's wife who hasn't got used to with guns even after so many years of their marriage.

It begins. Each killing is shockingly repellent. Like an artist's signature every victim holds a note, a sin highlighted with lines from Dante Alighieri' s 'Divine Comedy', Shakespeare's 'Merchant of Venice'. And his name is John Doe(Kevin Spacey). Those lines are screaming that this not just some insanity. He wants to make a point.

Each murder is done by reaching horrific extremes of those deadly sins. A fat man is fed until he burst. Then there is an infamous lawyer got gun stuck on his head, handed a knife -a weighing scale is in front of him and he has to cut 1 pound of flesh from his body by himself. A druggist tied to bed for a whole year!! A famous model, her nose is cut and bandaged again and gave a choice- phone in one hand to call help n sleeping pills in other one to die rather than live deformed. A whore is punished ruthlessly that you should see on screen only. John says, "The world is so shitty…and we get used to them".

This Script is sumptuous. It mirrors today's society skillfully and boldly. Nothing is hidden by the camera. All we watch is naked truth that we hate to admit and most of the time that we hardly care. The spirituality woven in has its impact all over. Most of all ending is a blow. It is stunning.

There are number of memorable sequences in Seven. One especially is breath-taking when Somerset and Mills reaches John doe's apartment and Doe directly starts shooting at them and chase sequence followed is absolute fabulous. On other hand dinner party at Mills house we feel wine mixed in the air. Tracey and Somerset's meeting at coffee shop is the finest ones I ever seen. The intensity of that conversation can't be described.

This is a very dark film. It is all time raining. All environment surrounding Se7en is so grim and ghastly it clouds viewers with the same. Music refuse to leave us even when it is over. I must mention titles and credits rolled, one of the best I ever seen.

Se7en comes out with strong performances. Morgan Freeman is truly outstanding. Brad Pitt made me his fan from this movie. The way he says "Ladies and Gentleman we have a homicide here" and same David when taunted by Somerset "You are saying you care for these people?" says with assuring impulse "Sure I do….!!!". Gwyneth Paltrow 's Tracey doesn't have much screen presence but when she is there, we just can not stop love her character. In final half an hour we are introduced to Kevin Spacey's John Doe. The preacher. What can I say about this chilling work? Spacey gave such a performance that stings. We hate to admit with this man but somewhere we know he is right. Somerset asks him, "So you are saying some higher power tell you to do this?" Just watch John Doe reply "Lord works in mysterious ways..". Interesting thing pointed out by one of the fan is Somerset and John Doe both observed the same facts about today's society but responds in different ways, Somerset want to run away and Doe takes action.

No matter how many thrillers I shall see but this will always one of my favorites. It affects deeply. That's the power of Se7en. Se7en is a terrific thriller and a modern classic.
17 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Still manages to astound after 20 years of repeat viewings
tomgillespie20021 March 2014
After his calamitous experience working on his début film Alien 3 (1992), David Fincher took on a small genre picture that, little did he know, would revitalise his career and become one of the greatest films of the 1990's. Se7en appears to begin as your typical detective neo- noir, with the cynical veteran and the naive rookie taking on an elusive serial killer seemed hell-bent on turning the sin against the sinner. But, set in an unnamed and permanently drizzly American city, Se7en is a meditation on evil and a pessimist's depiction on the modern world, climaxing in one of the bravest and most memorable endings in Hollywood history.

Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is on the verge of retirement, where he plans to leave his inner-city life behind him after years of fighting on the side of good. His replacement is the brash Detective Mills (Brad Pitt), an optimistic young recruit eager to learn, who Somerset takes under his wing. Their first homicide investigation involves an obese man who has been fed at gunpoint to the point of causing his stomach to rupture. With Somerset ready to leave the force, Mills takes on his first solo case in the murder of a rich attorney, a man forced to cut a pound of flesh from his own body. The murder scene has the words 'greed' written in blood. Somerset eventually finds the word 'gluttony' etched in grease in the apartment of the first victim, and he becomes convinced the murders are connected, and that the killer is murdering under the guidance of the seven deadly sins.

The genius of Se7en is rooted in the way the movie keeps the audience as clueless as the detectives. Normally in genre pictures such as this, we either know who the killer is and eagerly wait for the investigators to put the pieces together, or we have a line-up of suspects and red herrings to decide from. Here, apart from brief glimpses during a thrilling chase scene, we are devoid of clues. The killer is always one step ahead of Somerset and Mills, alluding to the idea that the mysterious 'John Doe' is indeed having his work guided by a higher power. Of course, he is not, he is merely a man, but this helps gives Se7en dramatic weight, rather than it becoming a nihilistic exercise in cruelty.

When, three-quarters of the movie in, the killer hands himself in, the movie becomes a masterclass in writing, slowly building into one of the greatest climaxes in film. Somerset, a decent man who has devoted his life to the side of good but has had the fight slowly drained out of him, meets his nemesis in John Doe (Kevin Spacey). But as they talk, Doe's reasoning becomes clear and, shockingly, almost sympathetic. "Wanting people to listen, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore, you have to hit them with a sledgehammer," he says. It's about a world gone to s**t, a view shared by Mills' wife Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), who talks to Somerset in a diner about allowing a baby to be born into the world after discovering she is pregnant. Cerebral and Gothic, Se7en transcends the genre on so many levels thanks to some bleak yet stylish direction by Fincher, and it still manages to astound after almost 20 years of repeat viewings.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It doesn't get much more influential than this...
Leofwine_draca13 March 2012
Two very different films about serial killers ruled Hollywood in the 1990s: 1991's SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, featuring Anthony Hopkins as the infamous Hannibal 'the Cannibal' Lecter, and this, David Fincher's masterpiece about a pair of New York cops tackling a perverted killer inspired by the seven deadly sins. SE7EN is an extremely stylish film that ended up inspiring dozens of copycats like RESURRECTION and THE BONE COLLECTOR: all of the films share a gritty-grimy style with depictions of unflinching violence, seedy backdrops and sleazy characters.

Whichever way you look at it, SE7EN is a great movie. It has a pair of sterling performances from relative newcomers Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, playing stock clichéd characters: the young rookie and the older, wiser cop on the verge of retirement. Both Pitt and Freeman overcome their characters' conventions to make them believable people. Their quarry is Kevin Spacey, giving one of his traditionally disturbed portrayals as a sociopath with no inklings of good or evil. Much of the film is made up of police procedural elements, with the investigation of crime scenes, the following of leads and at least one fantastic chase sequence halfway through in which Fincher's direction is top notch. It's also blessed with a gruesomely dark twist ending which stays in your head forever afterwards.

For what it's worth, I'd pick SE7EN over SILENCE every time.
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Very well made, but....
MartinHafer20 January 2015
I think the audience for "Se7en" is rather self-selecting. If you don't mind an ultra-gory cop film with a lot of expletives, then you will be delighted. If you are looking for something family-friendly or 'nice', then you wouldn't even consider watching this in the first place. While I don't think I'd put myself in either group, I am not really a bit fan of gore and although I can respect the film, it really isn't a film for me. So why did I watch it? Well, with well over 17000 reviews and an overall IMDb score that places it near the top of all films, then it's natural I'd get to it sooner or later.

As for the film, I won't say much--there are already TONS of reviews for this one. Suffice to say that the plot is exceptional--complex, shocking and worth seeing. The acting also is quite nice all around. The bottom line is that this IS a quality production and if it's the sort of thing you'd normally watch, watch away and enjoy.
26 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It cuts and slices away, but still follows police-movie formula...
moonspinner553 October 2005
Is Morgan Freeman our greatest living actor? He may in fact be, and his mere presence here (solid, noble, and pure) is reassuring, but even Freeman can't overcome the usual cat-&-mouse/killer-toying-with-detectives stew that "Se7en" serves up. There's a serial killer loose in rainy New York City, and as he mounts his seven grisly crime scenes--modeled after the Seven Deadly Sins--he quickly becomes aware of the two homicide detectives on the case and is enamored of their drive and determination. Most of this is left vague and unexplained; we learn precious little about the psychopath involved except that he's highly literate, educated, with too much strict religion in his background. This is all hoary police-movie fodder, as is the set-up with the detectives: the wise codger about to retire and his cocky new partner with the short fuse. The film mounts the tension well, with staccato glimpses of corpses and gore, but can't escape a fatigued sense of deja vu (I thought mostly of "The Silence of the Lambs"). Brad Pitt gets off to an awkward, hesitant start in his role, but does improve. Freeman is sensational; whether throwing his knife at a dartboard or studying up on literature at the library, he is focused and gripping. The grimy, lust-and-death soaked atmosphere is wallowed in (it's the Big Apple as a Gothic Hell), and certainly it is palpable and captured successfully, but completely off-putting. Words written in blood on the's too much like real-life crime scenes, and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker isn't clever enough to distract us or cunning enough to help us distinguish the difference (the killer does leave clues, but they are quickly solved). The narrative is a mix of derivative movie-thriller ideas and new-fangled ways of making the viewer as squeamish as possible--it's the old pulling-wings-off-flies number, but on a larger sick-making scale. The film is predictably gruesome, less predictably formula-bound. **1/2 from ****
17 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Strong movie
Just-A-Girl-1411 August 2021
This movie is meant to shock the viewer. It is a statement on human society that is even more true now than it was 26 years ago when the movie came out. Whether you agree or not, whether you're shocked or not, it is a good strong movie with a great cast. Highly recommended.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A very interesting mystery film with a cool premise
ryancortero14 September 2020
Seven is a mystery thriller with an interesting premise, which you should not look into before watching this. If you've seen Zodiac or Gone Girl, you'll like the feel of this movie (especially since they're all directed by David Fincher). The mystery surrounding this movie had me intrigued and was building up well. The ending was not what I was expecting but I think it was a good conclusion. Morgan Freeman is his same amazing self, and Brad Pitt does really well in his role. There is one more actor who sold his part well, but I don't want to spoil who that is. The score by Howard Shore fits well too. I would definitely rewatch this because there are definitely things to pick up on.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I am just speechless after watching thus movie.
adityarocks-3886610 November 2019
The theme of the movie is so dark that at certain points in the movieI felt like stop watching this one but its way of narration and the suspense does'nt let me do so. David Fincher has made this master piece in such a way the it will not make you feel boarded at all . The ending of the movies was the best as well as the darkest part of the movie which revolves in the viewers mind even after the move ends. Its one of the best Drama/Mystery movie I have seen. Overall this movie is outstandingly brilliant.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Awesome, twisted serial killer flick
lbeattie-6512210 April 2017
Se7en is one of my favorite movies. I guess that says a lot about me. I can't pass it by when flicking through my cable guide. Every time I watch it I see or hear something new. Morgan Freeman is superb as a tired and emotionally beaten down cop getting ready to retire. Brad Pitt is very convincing as a young new detective running his first serial killer investigation with all the nerves and ambitious recklessness you'd expect from having to partner with a veteran on his last case before retirement. The duo face a witty killer who kills based on the seven deadly sins. The real stars of this movie are the writer, director and set designers for presenting incredibly intricate and graphic murder scenes and making all the characters likable. The writing is deep and you have to pay attention to every detail. As the bodies mount you find yourself counting down each deadly sin to the incredible climax and shocking but truly awesome ending. You can't go wrong with the cast assembled in Se7en. It's a great movie for whodunit fans that like a little more tension and voyeurism in their crime dramas. It will not disappoint.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Brazilian_Pharaoh22 March 2017
Inspired by the Divine Comedy (there are other religious books that inspire the villain but i don't remember them), the psicopath John Doe (Kevi Spacey) tries to teach a sermon by torturing people based on one of the seven deadly sins they are accused of committing.

This movie biggest sin (pun intended) is that only became a masterpiece that it is known only half way through it. The first hour is a generic detective movie with all the clichés: the two cops who are opposite from each other(Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt), a murder mystery, etc.

But aside from that, it's a great movie worth watching specially for the twist at the ending.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's great, but you'll want to jump in the shower after it's done
Mr-Fusion22 March 2017
This is exactly why I hold fast to the idea of a second look, particularly when it comes to movies. "Seven" is Exhibit A, and what I'd remembered about it over the last twenty-odd years was the mindscrew ending - as well as the omnipresent rain and dingy interiors, a world I don't want to stick around in.

But within that hopeless environment is a deeply unnerving thriller and even a good cop drama. Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt are well-defined characters; theirs is an abrasive relationship but a good one to focus on as the world festers around them. The horrors in this movie run the gamut from shock to viewer's imagination; and as ghastly as those crime scenes are, they're handled with serious skill. And then there's the ending, a magic act that could've failed so easily, yet holds up amazingly well.

It's surprising that such an ugly, wet and claustrophobic movie was filmed in Southern California. And that wretched setting gets under my skin. Who knows when I'll sit down to watch this again, but it surprised me as an adult.

3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed