Dir. | David Fincher
Starring | Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt , Gwyneth Paltrow
Gluttony. Greed. Sloth. Envy. Wrath. Pride. Lust.
A serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi is investigated by Detectives Mills (Pitt) and Somerset (Freeman).
The genius of the film’s success lies not in a single beautifully conveyed element; it arises through a fine blend of splendid acting, terrifying visuals, a slick script, and the perfect hints of bittersweet comedy.
Borrowing heavily from decades of film noir and thickened with dark atmosphere throughout, slow camera movements and sombre background music make for a relentlessly terrifying film.
Somerset – the veteran cop looking forward to his imminent retirement – reluctantly teams up with his soon-to-be replacement Mills, a naive yet tenacious rookie who derides Somerset’s mature logic that the man they are searching for is best caught by entering his mind and attempting to understand his behaviour: “It’s dismissive to call him a lunatic. This guy’s methodical, exacting, and worst of all, patient.” Freeman plays his role with a believable melancholic air, that of a man accustomed to years of similar morbid investigations. Pitt is convincing in his persistent attempts to be proactive and fight for what is just.
Flickers of hope come from the excellent supporting role of Tracy Mills (Gwyneth Paltrow), a necessary character showing that there is promise outside the harsh reality of the septet of deaths.
Containing all the quintessential elements of a gritty crime thriller, Se7en is a story of human tragedy, the fight for justice, and about the endurance of (unexpected) friendships. Remaining true to the genre but without the clichés, this film is a masterpiece in thrill, and with one of the most shocking and heartbreaking endings in cinematic history.
The film was a huge commercial success, received a BAFTA nomination for Best Original Screenplay and a nomination for the Academy Award for Film Editing. However, it never won a significant accolade. That said, I leave it to the immortal words of the genius that was Mark Twain to simply say: “It is far better to deserve honours and not have them, than to have them and not deserve them.” Enough said.
Watch if you liked: Saw Series / The Bone Collector (1999) / The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
Notes: I’ve decided to revisit some of my all-time favourite films from different genres. Some are deemed classics, others are gems discovered unexpectedly. But all of them, in their own way, deserve their place in cinematic history. Hopefully you can all enjoy them as much as I have done!