Director: David Fincher
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Emery, John C. McGinley
Academy Award Nominations (1996):
Best Film Editing: Richard Francis-Bruce
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” I agree with the second part.
Veteran Detective Lieutenant William Somerset (Freeman) and newly transferred Detective David Mills (Pitt) investigate a series of homicides by John Doe (Spacey). The pattern of murders is unique in that they are each based on one of the seven deadly sins: gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy, and wrath.
This movie is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I’m not really into the gruesomeness that can come with this type of movie. David Fincher has done a good job of using just enough of the stomach-churning elements within the story. With each new murder scene, he slowly builds the tension, each scene upping the ante. Given the subject matter, it’s also good how he keeps the lighting relatively dark and depressing.
This is also a great example of casting the right, if not perfect, actors for the central characters. Morgan Freeman is great as that older calming voice of reason. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Freeman as an actor. I can’t see anyone else being able to pull this off, and yet Freeman seems to be able to nail this type of character every time.
He is balanced out by Mills, the headstrong go-getter. Pitt does great in this role, balancing the new job with his home life. It’s not surprising that Pitt and Fincher have collaborated a few times since Se7en. Mills and Somerset complement each other in a way that brings a balanced approach to finding the killer.
Though Freeman and Pitt do well with their characters, Kevin Spacey really steals the show for me. Though he doesn’t appear until much later in the film, he controls every scene in such a way that only he could do. Spacey has the look and feeling of that creepy, mysterious guy. He gives you a false sense of security and then he pulls off his ulterior motive.
It’s also interesting to see all of these people and how much different they are now twenty years later.
Though it’s not the type of film I’ll go out of my way to see, Se7en is engaging and entertaining. It balances out three great actors, each able to place their own creative stamp within their relatively simple, straightforward parts. It’s been long enough since I watched this one that some parts of it surprised me, however, I don’t think this is one I’ll revisit anytime soon.
My Rating: 4/5 stars