Seven (1995)

June 27, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

Diving into the murky, noir world of two detectives, Seven unravels a crime mystery that is just as enlightening and ambiguous as it is gruesome. This is arguably David Fincher’s best film, and I wouldn’t argue too much about it because it gives very little to argue about. Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt deliver fantastic performances and the mood set by Fincher doesn’t just send a chill down your spine; it burns into the spine like a cavity.

Fincher doesn’t just create a dark world, he shows that the world we live in is dark. It’s a gritty world we are placed into, accented by the muted colors and gritty scenes we are shown. The murder scenes are realistic, almost giving off a documentary type of feel because the gore is authentically done. The pace of the film is comfortable, as it takes time to delve into the lives of the two detectives, building them up to be fully-realized characters. The script is also very intelligent and endlessly thought-provoking, bringing up the issues of the goodness of humanity. Seven is a magnificent slow-burn film that dig into your skin like a knife in slow motion.

Brad Pitt plays David Mills, a relatively young detective that is eager to prove his worth. Pitt shows that he’s not just another pretty face, as he plays the role of an eager detective that is still invested in the imaginary line of “good” and “bad.” Despite his slight arrogance, we feel for him, as he is an everyday man that is trying to fulfill his ideal version of a detective. Morgan Freeman plays the veteran Detective Lt. William Somerset, as he is on the verge of retiring. There is a gentleness about Somerset, and yet he always has a look on his weathered face that shows the job has taken more innocence from him than it should have. Somerset is a highly intelligent, almost sage-like character that is somewhat lonely, alone in the world with the scenes of evil he’s seen throughout the years. *Spoilers* Playing “John Doe,” the nameless serial killer that uses the guidelines of the seven deadly sins to paint his masterpiece, is none other than Kevin Spacey. With only about 20 minutes of screen-time, Spacey is riveting and so convincing in his mission that he almost convinces you to invest in his motive because his passion sizzles through the celluloid.

Seven is one of those films that is more than a movie with a surprise at the end; it’s a film that questions who we are. Are we savages or saints at heart or none of the above? Is John Doe an anti-hero or an evil man? Fincher gives us a world that isn’t noir in style, it’s noir simply by nature. The killer has the conviction of a hero, with a purpose of opening the world’s eyes to the sins we commit everyday but give little notice to because they are common. The film puts it best, as Somerset says, “Ernest Hemingway once wrote, ‘The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.’ I agree with the second part.”

Potential Drawbacks:

The film may move a bit slow for some, especially those in the younger teenage years. In addition, the film has a formulaic plot, but what’s done within the formula is refreshing.

Film Recommendations:

The Pledge
Gone Baby Gone



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