“Se7en” Review ✦✦✦✦✦

5 February, 2017

Year of Release: 1995
David Fincher
Andrew Kevin Walker
Director of Photography: 
Darius Khondji
Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow

Synopsis: An ageing homicide detective and his new partner are tasked with investigating a set of crimes based around the principle of the seven deadly sins. Racing against time to prevent the final murders from taking place, the pair unearth a heinous plot that hits close to home.

Se7en Review:

In a city that never sleeps, a place where filth and fear refuse to be washed away by the constant patter of rain, two homicide detectives are begrudgingly put together as a string of murders begin to unfold in their district. The men occupy different ends of the professional and personal spectrum. Mills is a young, virile cop who believes that justice will always be served and Somerset is an aged man on the verge of retirement whose delicate tastes are his only escape from the ungodly sights that he has seen throughout his career.

Somerset is a detective whose faith in the system has slowly diminished as he has watched case after case go through his office unresolved but this is something that Mills is yet to see for himself, and something he refuses to be taught as he struggles to comprehend why Somerset could possibly have any patience with those who commit unspeakable acts. Mills will not accept that admiration is key to understanding and his inability to separate his emotions from his work inevitably leave him vulnerable. He is poisoned by his rage and one-sided morality, labelling a killer ‘insane’ with a venomous tongue and a fist ready to pummel a criminal into the ground.

Somerset detests the city’s criminals but his wisdom and bookishness give him the tools he needs to pick them apart. Rather than simply jumping straight to the chase, he maps out patterns and ideas; he soaks in the underbelly and smells the vomit. He doesn’t turn away from a butchered body, he interprets and studies it. It’s remarkable how closely linked Somerset and the killer are in the meticulousness of their method, displaying qualities that are quite the opposite of Mills who always skims the surface and reacts too quickly.

“Se7en” is one of a tiny number of films that has a perfectly crafted narrative. Each beat is masterfully plotted and paced, each section riddled with twists and turns, with fresh murders around every corner and a killer who makes themselves untraceable simply to show their power before they surrender. The killer crafts their final act as a way to round off their own pre-mapped narrative and it’s one that’ll leave you reeling for hours after seeing how gruesomely it all plays out.


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