“Se7en” – Classic Film Reviews #4

“Se7en” was released in 1995 and was directed by David Fincher, and it stars Brad Pitt, Morgan “the Voice of God” Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kevin Spacey. The movie follows two detectives named David Mills (Pitt), a rookie, and William Somerset (Freeman), a man in his 60’s who has only one week left before he retires. The two are paired together in order to find a genius serial killer who murders people based on the seven deadly sins: gluttony, greed, lust, pride, wrath, envy, and sloth.

One of the best aspects of this movie is the tension and the constant grimy & violating feeling, which is due to the masterful direction by David Fincher. The movie is a phenomenal thriller; something intense or gruesome is happening in every single scene, and even when a scene may seem calm and lack a sense of danger, the tension is somehow still there. Besides the direction, another aspect that increases the grimy and dark tone of the film is the dreary setting. The film takes place in a notoriously violent city where there is almost always a mugging or murder on most of the streets, and none of its citizens want to be there. The script takes the interesting choice of never exactly saying what city the story takes place in, and that’s for the better because the setting feels more like something out of a legend or myth. In addition, the movie has so many gory and disgusting scenes, and while that may be fun in some movies like “Robocop,” in “Se7en” the images shown are horrifying and brutally realistic. The images stay in the heads of viewers even after the end credits, which is clearly the impact Fincher was going for.

The performances in the film were fantastic across the board. Brad Pitt played his character with cockiness and humor, but as the film went on, he showed how vulnerable his character is. Morgan Freeman’s performance served as a brilliant example of how living in an environment like that can damage a person and change who he/she is. However, my favorite performance was that of Kevin Spacey, who portrayed the serial killer, John Doe. In real life, Spacey is a disgusting and despicable person who I despise greatly, but as a critic, I must separate the art from the artist. As soon as Spacey showed up in the movie, he dominated the screen and savored every line of dialogue he had. John Doe was slimy & maniacal while being charismatic at the same time.

The script of “Se7en” (written by Andrew Kevin Walker) may be the best part however, since the overarching story was so efficiently developed and disturbing, and the film succeeds in impacting its viewers in ways no other movie has. The movie is also very rewatchable since the writer put so many details into the story and crafted a beautiful arc for the characters, specifically David Mills. The ending was brilliant as well, and while I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen the movie, I will say it is extremely shocking & is one of the best endings of all time.

“Se7en” is one of the best movies of the 1990’s, and is my favorite thriller of all time. The extremely dark tone of the movie may be a turn-off for some people, but I strongly recommend watching this film so others can have a cinematic experience like no other.

Grade: A+

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