Seven (stylized as SE7EN) is a 1995 American neo-noir psychological crime thriller film directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker. It stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltow, Kevin Spacey, R Lee Ermey and John C. McGinley. The screenplay was influenced by the time Walker spent in New York City trying to make it as a writer.
When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills (Brad Pitt), they discover a number of elaborate and grizzly murders. They soon realize they are dealing with a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who is targeting people he thinks represent one of the seven deadly sins. Somerset also befriends Mills' wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is pregnant and afraid to raise her child in the crime-riddled city.
Why It Rocks
- The film has a superb storyline with elements of horror, crime, drama and suspense.
- John Doe is an intimidating and despicable main antagonist and his idea of murdering people according to the seven deadly sins is creepy and clever.
- David Mills is a very likable and confident deuteragonist.
- William Somerset made an interesting and cynical protagonist who believes that crime is natural and good is temporary.
- Great dialogue, such as "Wanting people to listen, you can't tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer and then you notice you've got their strict attention." and "WHAT'S IN THE BOX?!"
- Creepy, yet memorable and inventive opening credits.
- Brilliant and frightening cinematography for the 1990s.
- Terrifying and atmospheric soundtrack that was composed by Howard Shore.
- It showed that David Fincher has very great, high-level experience as a director.
- Dark and brooding color palette that fits the tone of the movie.
- Great acting, especially from Brad Pitt as David Mills, Morgan Freeman as William Somerset, Gwyneth Paltrow as Tracy Mills and Kevin Spacey as John Doe.
- A very unpredictable and depressing ending showing the fate of David Mills and makes the viewer question if John Doe actually killed Tracy (David's wife) or if he was playing mind games with him.
- Lots of suspenseful and unforgettable scenes.
- The kills are brutal and nicely done.
- The poster is iconic.
Seven received universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike who praised the film's dark style, brutality and themes. It currently holds an 81% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 7.76/10 and a critic consensus that reads, "A brutal relentlessly grim shocker with taut performances, slick gore effects, and a haunting finale." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 65 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews" while the film has an 8.6/10 on IMDb. Roger Ebert gave the film a four out of four and commented on Fincher's direction: "None of his films is darker than this one."
Seven was released on September 22, 1995 and grossed $13.9 million on its opening weekend. It went on to gross $100.1 million in North America and $227.1 million internationally for a total of $327.2 million, making it the seventh-highest grossing film of 1995.
Awards and Nominations
The film won three MTV Movie Awards. One for Brad Pitt for Most Desirable Male, one for Best Movie and one for Kevin Spacey for Best Villain. It also won three Saturn Awards for Best Writing, Best Make-up and Best Foley Mixing.
It was nominated an Academy Award for Best Film Editing and five Saturn Awards. It was also nominated an MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo and a British Academy Film Award for Best Original Screenplay.
- The film’s brooding, dark look was achieved through a chemical process called bleach bypass. The silver in the film stock was not removed, which deepened the dark shadowy images in the film.
- David Fincher said on the DVD commentary that he felt really bad for the actor who had to wear all the hot, heavy gluttony prosthetics, so to compensate, he made him well-endowed.
- Make-up for the 'sloth' victim took over fourteen hours.
- The filmmakers decided it should always be raining for two reasons: It added a sense of dread; and they never had to worry about bad weather.