Se7en (1995): A Great Films review

Armed with a flashlight, Detective Somerset slowly enters what appears to be an abandoned house. It soon dawns on him that it is not. He reaches the kitchen and finds a horribly obese man with his face down on a bowl. The horrible stench makes it clear that the man has been dead for a while. However, this does not seem to be a suicide to Somerset. Along with his partner, Detective Mills, they take a closer look and notice that the victim's ankles and wrists are bound by metallic wires. It is at that moment when it becomes clear to both detectives that this is the work of a cold-blooded killer. A serial killer who will change both of their lives forever.

Directed by David Fincher, Se7en is an intense crime mystery released in 1995. The film follows veteran detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and rookie cop David Mills (Brad Pitt) as they are faced with a series of carefully executed murders that seem to be connected. Murders whose victims appear to be those committing one of the seven deadly sins. It is a thriller unlike any other you will ever see.

David Fincher's distinct direction is one of the fundamental reasons that sets this film apart and gives it a look and feel that is quite unique. Using dark and somber colors, Fincher is able to project a gloomy atmosphere throughout the film. Even the opening credits of the film prepare the viewer for the disturbing and eerie mood that is to come, testimony to how effective Se7en's opening credits are. He also manages to get the best out of Freeman and Pitt. They work excellently together and are very believable as a partnership. In addition, the director does a brilliant job with the pacing of the film as it is slow when it needs to be but is fast and kinetic as it reaches it's mind-blowing climax. Outstanding filmmaking on display.

Of course, the performances from Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt also give the film more strength and power. Freeman plays veteran detective William Somerset. A cool, calm, and assured cop who has been through the grind for years and is looking forward to his imminent retirement. Morgan Freeman plays him to perfection, immediately giving off the feeling that Somerset has seen so much evil that nothing really surprises him, until he stumbles upon these series of murders that truly astound him.

Brad Pitt is also superb in this picture. With the role of rookie detective David Mills, Brad gives his character the overconfidence found in new recruits whilst maintaining a likability factor. He is the hard working husband who is fighting for a better life for him and his wife, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. We witness Mills as he becomes absorbed with these murders until they totally consume his life. Indeed, he does not become the same man by the end of it all. Pitt is able to display all of that in his acting with ease.

The film's score is another element that gives those who view Se7en a feeling of uneasiness and mysteriousness. Composed by the great Howard Shore, the soundtrack is haunting and unforgettable. It gives the scenes, especially the crime scenes, a deeper sense of the evil mind on the loose. It achieves what every great soundtrack does, elevate the film to another level.

With Se7en, David Fincher firmly establishes himself as one of cinema's preeminent filmmakers. Here, he has created a masterpiece. A crime mystery with a couple of truly thrilling and terrifying scenes sandwiched in between. A film that is perhaps the grittiest and darkest to have ever been made. A gripping thriller that keeps you hooked to each and every scene until that breathtaking finale. It is an ending you will not see coming as nothing will prepare you for what unfolds. An ending that takes you by complete surprise and slaps you on the face. Se7en is quite simply a jewel of a film. One that will be admired and respected for generations to come.



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David Fincher

Outstanding performances:

  • Brad Pitt (as Detective David Mills)
  • Morgan Freeman (as Detective Lt. William Somerset)


2 hours and 7 minutes




Crime / Mystery / Thriller