“Seven” – 1995. Dir. David Fincher

17 May

With Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, R. Lee Ermey, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. McGinley, Richard Roundtree and Kevin Spacey

“Where to?”

“Far away from here.”

This is a gritty noir film that centers around two detectives: William Somerset (Freeman) who is retiring in seven days, and his replacement David Mills (Pitt) who happen to investigate a string of murders where a killer is killing according to the seven deadly sins.

This is one fucking intense film.

There are many things that strike me about this film, and many things that bring me back to it. I’ve always felt that Freeman is the central character of the film – he’s the veteran detective that’s become so apathetic – so disgusted of the world around him that he’s become a better detective, he’s become extremely jaded. This final case completely solidifies he thoughts about the world.

Pitt plays the polar opposite of Freeman, he’s the young, eager and immature detective who is all balls and no brains – yet they work together with this steady truce and this odd symbiotic relationship.


Andrew Kevin Walker’s screenplay may be one of the finest screenplays ever transformed to screen. There are many elements to me that define the realism of the film. The fact that Brad Pitt doesn’t shower before work, that we know he doesn’t shower before work has always stuck with me. This is a direct reflection of his immaturity. When we see Freeman get ready for work, he’s cleanly shaven, his cloths are pressed, and his hat rests perfectly on his head. As much as Freeman resents his job, as much as it’s made him completely jaded – he has a respect for it, he has a respect for himself.

As Freeman and Pitt become closer, Pitt’s wife played by Gwyneth Paltrow confides to Freeman in a show stopping emotional scene. She’s pregnant and unsure to have the child; Pitt doesn’t know. The subject of abortion has become so taboo in our society its ridiculous – yet in the film “Seven”, nothing is off limits. This scene in the film is the one scene that I always remember, that I always think back too. The dialogue exchange between Paltrow and Freeman is some of the best written dialogue I’ve ever heard.

The dialogue exchange does two things: it completely sums up Freeman’s view of the world and it shows us Paltrow’s doubt. The second thing it does is set up the earth shattering ending that will always be remembered to anyone who ever seen the film.

I love Morgan Freeman in this film, and I think it’s his career performance. He’s the elder, the wise man. He’s a man who probably came from the projects of the city, yet he pulled himself up and becomes an extremely cultured man by spending so much time reading, he absorbs everything.


Kevin Spacey is fucking great as the killer John Doe, and each time I see the film, I just get more and more upset due to the fact that Kevin Spacey hasn’t done anything worth a fuck since “Beyond the Sea”. The fact that Spacey was in both this film and “The Usual Suspects” in the same year is remarkable – giving two polar opposite (to a point) performances and making them both believable. Kevin Spacey can act.

Brad Pitt is very good in the film yet I don’t really care for him, but I don’t think we’re supposed too – unless I just identify with Freeman’s character more. The only emotion that I get from Pitt is at the end of the film, then I’m at his will and I am so sympathetic and filled with so much sadness.

The direction that Fincher gives is wonderful – he guides us through New York City that reminds me very much of the New York City we saw in “Taxi Driver” – a world of filth and horrible things, but at least this time we have Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt to fight out battles for us. “Seven” remains to be David Fincher’s masterpiece.

Review: 10/10

18 Responses to ““Seven” – 1995. Dir. David Fincher”

  1. Kevin Blumeyer May 17, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    1. I don’t think you can consider this a “noir.”

    2. I still think “Zodiac” is miles ahead of this movie.

    • Frank Mengarelli May 17, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

      I feel that it follows in line with the ”neo noir” template that started with the New Wave that David Lynch further explored with Blue Velvet.

  2. Castor May 18, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Of course Morgan Freeman is the central character! Doesn’t he narrate the movie with voice-over every now and then? In my opinion, David Fincher’s best movie so far.

    • Frank Mengarelli May 18, 2010 at 10:28 am #

      He has an ending narration, I just hate how Pitt is billed first. I also have a lot of fondness for Zodiac and especially The Game.

      • Kevin Blumeyer May 18, 2010 at 11:45 am #

        It’s probably because Pitt was fresh off “Interview with the Vampire” and “Legends of the Fall.” Freeman had done mostly ensemble/supporting work until Shawshank, and Pitt was definitely the rising star.

        But yes, Freeman is the central character. This happens all the time.

      • Heather May 18, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

        Zodiac was incredible and The Game was smart and tense and thrilling.

        Seven, however, was a masterpiece and falls into my top five films of all time. I’m glad to see you give it the respect it well deserves. It is one of the few films that changed the way I looked at movies, and still does upon each viewing.

      • Frank Mengarelli May 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

        I never tire of watching it and it never drags for a split second. I am smitten with it! Great minds do think alike unless they both think of Day-Lewis at the same time.

      • Heather May 18, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

        Hey hey hey………….I’m giving DDL his…..errrr…..day………..so I can fairly shake my thoughts on him……….

      • Frank Mengarelli May 18, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

        Ummm… ”My Left Foot”….

  3. mcarteratthemovies May 18, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    This is one of those movies that I walk away from feeling … dirty. It’s almost like when you talk about the movie you have to talk about the visuals (oh. my. god.) and the acting separately because there’s so much you can say about both. Morgan Freeman is the right pick for the aged, wizened detective, and I even don’t mind Brad Pitt as the younger, cockier newbie. But Kevin Spacey seals the deal for me — he’s quiet and scary as hell because his reasons for killing MAKE SENSE. Eek.

    Also, Mr. Frank, I’m officially inviting you to participate in the next blog event on the horizon. It’s similar to the one I participated in here: http://mcarteratthemovies.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/groovers-and-mobsters-present-gangster-movies/. E-mail me if you’re interested and we’ll start coming up with dark comedies (the genre of choice for June).

    • Heather May 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

      Ahhh, great M! Frank would be perfect for that genre!

  4. Simon/Ripley May 18, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    Can you imagine a young Morgan Freeman?

    Love your new banner, by the way. I mean, new as in, I just noticed it.

    • Frank Mengarelli May 18, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

      Thank you Simon/Ripley/She – I am so smitten with Antichrist – is that a bad thing?

      • Simon/Ripley May 18, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

        Not if you’re from Europe!

  5. Frank Mengarelli May 18, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    Uh oh…I’m in America…what do I do now?

  6. Olive May 21, 2010 at 4:01 am #

    Great review Frank. Great cast, great film, great director, it’s all good. I’ve only ever seen it once though, as I found it so terrifying the first time, I just couldn’t bring myself to watch it again.

    • Frank Mengarelli May 21, 2010 at 9:53 am #

      What the F Olive? This is a film you have to see more than once!

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