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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 9.14%
Just Average: 2.03%
Pretty Crappy: 5.58%
Sucks: 4.57%

7 reviews, 155 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"Its impact hasn't lessened a bit."
5 stars

In an anonymous city as dark and wet as a puddle at midnight, a vicious, brilliant killer has been dispatching people based on which of the seven deadly sins they've committed. "Seven," the creepy and shocking thriller starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, stumbles into the occasional plot hole -- the premise is one of those neat, symmetrical conceits that invite lapses of logic -- but the director, David Fincher, does a bruising job of alchemy, turning a gimmicky cop thriller into a work of spiritual horror.

Fincher's previous film was the unjustly dismissed Alien 3, a humid and bitter mood piece that worked quite well as a coda to that anguished series (at least until Alien: Resurrection). Fincher is a graduate of the MTV Film School, but unlike some of his up-from-rock-video contemporaries, he doesn't exalt the image at the expense of words or emotions. Seven has moments as chilling and forceful as anything in The Silence of the Lambs.

Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker does something brave: He comes up with heroic characters so clichéd they have whiskers, but he puts a spin on them by ... letting them talk. They reveal themselves not by the usual Screenwriting 101 quirks or habits (though there are some of those here too, unfortunately) but by their philosophy. Lieutenant William Somerset (Freeman), a veteran homicide cop, is about to retire after 34 years (3 + 4: one of the movie's sly "seven" references for the attentive) and has a weary, cynical view of the citizens he protects and captures; he wishes the world weren't a shithole of violence and evil, but it is, and he's long since given up on any hope of changing things. More optimistic is his new partner, Detective David Mills (Pitt), who's hot to close this weird deadly-sins case that's just opened up; a man of action, he talks too much and doesn't think enough. Walker and Fincher draw subtle parallels and differences between these men. Seven, it turns out, isn't so much about catching the killer as about how one cop's worldview is validated, to the despair of his partner.

Every director has a blind spot, and Fincher's, like so many MTV boys, is a lack of spatial clarity. We don't know where any of the settings are in relation to each other; each scene builds to a visual wallop (and also an emotional one, which is what sets Fincher apart) but never gives us our geographical bearings. That, however, may be part of Fincher's plan. Working with the outstanding cinematographer Darius Khondji, Fincher fills the wide screen with darkness; the actors' faces, barely illuminated, fade in from the void. The scenes of the detectives entering some pitch-black apartment and encountering the ugly leavings of madness have a suffocating, threatening mood of dread. Yet it's not the usual dread of such thrillers, which make you afraid that something will pop out at the heroes (nothing ever does, with one sensational exception); it's the dread associated with seeing lonely, obscure people who died in terrible pain and in terrible ways, just because a righteous madman singled them out for his wrath. The movie has some of the impact of the scene in Silence of the Lambs when the sad, heavy corpse was unveiled on the slab. It's the human body as a playpen for insanity.

Fincher uses his stars cleverly. Brad Pitt, who has always struck me as a callow marquee idol with a little charm on loan from Robert Redford, comes through with a witty portrait of a man with lots of heart and guts but not a lot of brain cells. He makes an itchy, impatient, funny hero, and the great Morgan Freeman is around to cool him down. Incapable of a less-than-stunning performance, Freeman is a generous team player, lifting his co-stars up to his level without breaking a sweat (Pitt has Freeman to thank for much of his fine work here). It's completely Freeman's show, but he doesn't carry it so much as embody its concerns. Pitt gets top billing, but we experience everything through Somerset's wise, sad eyes. Whenever the writer gives him a philosophical speech, Freeman brings it home without a scratch, lending the words gravity without pomposity. The pocket of warmth that develops between these men stands in stark contrast to the cold shadows that close in around them.

And what about the killer? The identity of the actor who plays him was supposed to be some big secret at the time, but I don't see why; this isn't really that kind of movie (if we're ever meant to think that the killer could be Somerset or Mills, there are no red-herring hints to suggest that). And the actor isn't, say, Harrison Ford or Tom Hanks -- stars that we would be shocked to find playing twisted butchers. I will say that this was the second time in 1995 that this actor (who looks and acts here like a demented Michael Stipe) has played a villain shrouded in mystery, and he plays him to eerie perfection. Near the end, the killer has a self-justifying speech that rivals Ben Kingsley's in Death and the Maiden for pure insane logic, and the actor sells it beautifully. The righteous Mills rejects the killer's rant as mania, but Somerset is too old inside to dismiss it out of hand: The world really is horrible, and innocence gets harder to find every day. What matters is how one responds and relates to life in spite of that. Seven will lure people on the strength of its sicko premise and baroque deaths (some of the clinical details will shock the unshockable), but it's as serious as they come, a moral vision of an amoral landscape.

By the end, when the final blood is drawn on scorched, infertile soil -- a battlefield of mind and soul -- the portrait of desolation is complete. "Seven" is the most disquieting and powerful Hollywood thriller in years.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1005&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/24/06 15:35:57
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User Comments

3/23/17 Louise (the real one) It's OK but I've seen way scarier films 3 stars
10/29/16 morris campbell horrifing makes silence of the lambs look like abed time story 5 stars
3/23/14 Justin R. What a climax! Incredible film! 5 stars
3/15/12 stanley welles well crafted and ingeniously clever 5 stars
1/27/10 polar opposite now this is a masterpiece 5 stars
12/02/09 Jeff Wilder THE serial killer movie. 5 stars
8/20/09 brian One of the bleakest and most disturbing films ever to come out of Hollywood. Incredible. 5 stars
7/07/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* DARK, spooky, and will keep you on the edge of your seat 5 stars
11/25/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
9/29/08 Josh Phenomenal 5 stars
4/08/08 Dave Cops didn't try to prevent murders. Bad pacing. Good dialogue. Decent movie. 4 stars
2/03/08 Pamela White Very disturbing religious crime thriller 5 stars
1/30/08 Hayes Fantastic, unforgetable, terrifying masterpiece 5 stars
12/17/07 Quigley Very interesting film that you won't forget. Fincher is an amazing director. Sloth = scary 5 stars
11/24/07 Bitchflaps Intense, terrifying, ugly 5 stars
6/11/07 al smith finchers films are amazing and thought provoking this is a classic 5 stars
4/23/07 fools♫gold Something special to see here, people. 5 stars
12/29/06 AJ Muller To bring up the gore is to miss the point; this is thoughtful, serious, and for adults. 5 stars
10/18/06 David Pollastrini brilliant, frightening 5 stars
8/19/06 Sepi53 Thrilling, dark masterpiece! 5 stars
8/04/06 Stanley Thai Another over rated film with a clever ending. Nothing special to see here, people. 3 stars
6/11/06 the rock HOLY FUCKING SHIT 5 stars
6/11/06 Vince Absolute master piece 5 stars
6/05/06 Thomas FINCHER IS GOD 5 stars
1/20/06 ronald the sixth sense was better,this relies on gore factor like most of fincher's films 1 stars
12/02/05 Jennifer S. As far as thrillers go, this is the cream of the crop! 5 stars
11/19/05 The bride Absolutley genius film making, one of the best films ever created, ever. That ending... 5 stars
10/08/05 Desperado the ending almost made me throw up, to think that could actually happen, Jesus 4 stars
8/30/05 ES patience is not always a virtue, this is an unnerving film for sure 5 stars
8/21/05 Eden Its dark and depressing but brilliant in every way. That ending! 5 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma A truly dark and chilling thrill ride 5 stars
5/27/05 Lord Haw Haw Disturbing, unsettling, punch in the guts ending. 5 stars
3/26/05 indrid cold Makes SOTL look like Captain Kangaroo. Brilliant ending. 5 stars
1/15/05 Mr. Durden Great movie, not as good as SOTL but great all the same. 5 stars
12/06/04 Kurt Cobain Ending- a let down? HAHA, the ending was the ebst part of this excellent thriller. 5 stars
11/22/04 Archanist_101 NOT BAD!... Ending's sort of a let down though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
8/31/04 Andy Edge The absolute dog's gongs 5 stars
8/20/04 Jenny Lucas This movie freakin rocks 5 stars
8/15/04 Peter James Unsettling and is quite possibly David Fincher's greatest work 5 stars
8/12/04 McGraw Gritty, dark, thrilling, and 1000 times better then "The Silence of the Lambs". 5 stars
7/07/04 Spinz Crazy-mazing... but how the hell do u pronounce the title? is it 'seven' or 'sesevenen'?? 5 stars
7/07/04 Denise truly great 5 stars
7/06/04 EricDSnider Brilliant, dark and disturbing 5 stars
6/13/04 MyGreenBed Darker than one might expect. Brad Pitt's easily one of the worst actors of the modern era. 3 stars
5/12/04 Me Cool! 5 stars
5/01/04 the bride flawlessly well acted, written and directed thriller. but also extremely unsettiling... 5 stars
4/17/04 Martin Unreal. The dialogue is fabulous. One of the only movies I never tire of watching. 5 stars
4/13/04 slayathon An amazing job from Spacey, totally makes the film in my top faves 5 stars
4/07/04 Valarie good movie!!! Crazy!! 5 stars
3/30/04 midget very good movie....pretty graphic, but amazing 5 stars
3/24/04 Margie everything's just perfect.. the casting, the music, everything.perfectly gruesome and great 5 stars
3/23/04 Lord Haw Haw Creepy, eerie, unsettling with a punch in the guts ending. 5 stars
3/21/04 susan lee kevin spacey is really creepy. 5 stars
3/18/04 Teresa Williams The only movie, other than Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to creep me out! 5 stars
1/27/04 LIAM JACKSON spacey plays one of the most sick, insane guys i've ever seen on screen. 5 stars
11/23/03 Nicole One of my all-time favorites! 5 stars
10/23/03 Frostbite Falls Forget Pitt but Spacey is one of the creepiest villains ever put to film 5 stars
9/02/03 chris my god. 5 stars
7/13/03 Sean Smith Chilling and yet so plausible 5 stars
7/11/03 Indrid Cold Not terribly original, but flawlessly done. Brilliantly plotted and shot. 5 stars
7/07/03 Tom <MIND OF A LUNATIC > What a ending, very very good 5 stars
5/14/03 joshx42 The greatest thriller ever made. Period. 5 stars
3/31/03 Jack Sommersby A classic. 5 stars
3/17/03 Blah. I just watched it, it was Somerset who quotes Hemingway at the very end, and it's a box. 5 stars
2/06/03 123 style + dark + smart = cool 5 stars
11/21/02 Ponyboy It was Somerset who quoted Hemingway dipshit. You're lucky stupidity isn't a sin. 5 stars
10/26/02 MarktheShark6 Pitt & Freedman are great, but Kevin Spacey and the Hemingway quote were terrific! 5 stars
10/23/02 Charles Tatum Spacey is the creepiest killer ever 5 stars
10/10/02 Butterbean Better than the Hannibal franchise 5 stars
10/08/02 artemishia youre a fucking t-shirt at best! At best! 5 stars
10/07/02 ielly laverty you fucking idiot, it was john doe who quoted hemingway 5 stars
8/24/02 Turkish like the best detective movie of all time 5 stars
7/11/02 KMG "What's in the baaaag...what's in the baaag?!" 5 stars
5/20/02 Veronica Foxx Great. This could have been Planet 9 pt 2 (its not) but the ending would've made up for it. 4 stars
4/27/02 maximal01 What's in the box? Watch the movie and find out, and know: the world is a sick, sick place 5 stars
4/07/02 Nicole One of the best movies I have EVER seen. Nothing compares to the shock at the end. 5 stars
4/02/02 lauren mccreight one of those movies that sticks to you for days after.... 5 stars
3/19/02 Aborted Gently Disturbing and with a great edge. The ending is still great to watch. 5 stars
3/15/02 Slick Had me leaving the cinema thinking that just blew my mind. The finest movie in it's genre. 5 stars
2/28/02 Butterbean Next to "Heat", this is the best cop thriller 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Interesting. Not enthralling. 3 stars
1/20/02 Steve Seven is probably one of my favorite cop/thriller movies ever. 5 stars
1/19/02 Gary Pacy and well-directed enough to almost cover up for the deceptively thin characters. 4 stars
1/18/02 Magnum Craphole While not perfect, Se7en is a good thriller with exceptional cinematography. 4 stars
1/05/02 The Man Too often considered a good thriller...This is an American classic 5 stars
1/02/02 Scream-Mania Really good thriller movie. 5 stars
12/21/01 kyle ---------------------------------------------------------------------> 5 stars
12/06/01 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Worth it, just to see Ms Paltrow decapitated. 4 stars
11/30/01 Mark Conway One of the best movies i have ever seen, morgan freeman is brilliant a must see. 5 stars
11/29/01 Rutt13 One of the dullest, most overrated wastes of time ever, no gore even 2 stars
9/02/01 Butterbean This is the best cop flick * EVER!!! * 5 stars
8/08/01 E-Funk Fincher's sophomore effort shows what this cutting-edge director is made of. Great cast. 5 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg Great ending . 5 stars
7/21/01 Phil M. Afficianado Disturbing, gritty, shocking. You can see the end coming, but only "sort of". Excellent 4 stars
7/16/01 Piz Great movie..thank God for Freeman and Spacey, Pitt's crying scene at the end was pathetic 5 stars
6/24/01 Matt Dorsey Saw it for the first time today, and it lived up to the hype I've heard. 4 stars
6/18/01 Ken One of the most intense endings in movie history. 5 stars
6/14/01 zombie great 4 stars
6/02/01 BrainPan Freaky as hell. Don't watch it alone. Wait. DO watch it alone. 5 stars
5/12/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Gwyneth Paltrow's head in a box?? FUCK, YEAH!!!! 5 stars
5/08/01 Jake I just didn't buy it. Tried too hard to be something but lost on me. 2 stars
5/03/01 roby lafon outstanding cast 5 stars
3/27/01 Monster W. Kung Equal if not better than the overrated "Silence Of The Lambs". 4 stars
2/11/01 Jake This is perhaps the most overrated thriller ever made. Copycat was more exciting. 2 stars
2/11/01 Leather jacket I'd (by a landslide) would prefer Halloween or Cujo anyday 1 stars
1/08/01 ~baby girl~ it was awesome and it makes you think 5 stars
9/12/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Worth it just to see Ms Paltrow's head in a box. 4 stars
8/27/00 Aly Shallwani Knowlegdes is power! the one who has the most wins the games...hats wa this movies is bout 5 stars
8/14/00 Diana Michelle The scariest, coldest movie I have ever seen. 5 stars
7/31/00 Trevor Vos kickass movie- watch it again and again and again 5 stars
7/16/00 DSM-IV Despite Pitt&Paltrow seven was quite interesting. Spacey and Freeman are excellent. 4 stars
7/14/00 mark nairn they should all be this good 5 stars
7/11/00 Matthew Bartley Better than Lambs...very intricate and dense...also shit scary 5 stars
5/25/00 mama grrrrreat movie! 5 stars
5/16/00 slick F#CKING THE BEST! 5 stars
4/30/00 Ummm..... puer crap! 1 stars
4/30/00 Norman Bates Not even killing that Gywneth Paltrow woman can save this!THUMBS DOWN! 1 stars
4/29/00 Matt stupid shite! 1 stars
4/29/00 Ehh... piece of shit(not shite-you spell it S-H-I-T!) 1 stars
3/30/00 Arnaldo Cruz awesome scrip and Fincher is great, a classic thriller 5 stars
3/21/00 Lame-Oh sone gross scenes, yucky ending, better than Scream 5 stars
3/08/00 Yankee It makes you think. Religion now scares me. Makes you stay up late. 5 stars
2/15/00 Kyle Broflovski Gwyneth Paltrow's head in a box...happy, happy, joy, joy...:-) 5 stars
12/04/99 Eric S. Ranks as one of the great dark thrillers of the century 5 stars
11/11/99 Ralf Behet Good Script. Great directing. great acting. very good movie. 5 stars
10/23/99 The Bomb 69 unbelievable, ending was disgusting 5 stars
9/26/99 Andrew Amazing film, Brad Pitts awesome 5 stars
9/04/99 Elizaveta This film leaves you completely speechless and fucked in the head. Brilliant. 5 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Overrated, but still good. Didn't care for it first time I saw it though. 4 stars
6/16/99 Coye The whole movie was sick. I loved it. 5 stars
5/07/99 BraveFan A story of redemption - you just have to work to find it... 5 stars
5/01/99 Brian Pietrzycki absolute dark, mordant masterpiece, superb acting, perfect use of mood and settings. 5 stars
4/07/99 Dave Gwyn Head - She needs to be put in the box for good. That flat chested thing. EWWWW 1 stars
3/10/99 Go Swans They should have kept Gwyneth in the box. 5 stars
3/10/99 Ah Dooey Better than 8mm, a real masterpiece. 5 stars
2/19/99 Piz great dark rollercoaster, Freeman is the star here, dry ending,but wicked fun 4 stars
2/17/99 Bishop Creepy. But good, the way they shoot the ending seen is great. Dark tints create the mood. 5 stars
2/08/99 Bob, Lord of Evil Hey Nibby, you're right. 5 stars
2/07/99 Nibby7 I think I'm the only person who found this film slow, predictable and uninspiring. 1 stars
2/01/99 Matthew Bartley Can Freeman do any wrong? Amovie of the decade 5 stars
11/27/98 Mr.Pink After Alien3 I said that Fincher's a great director,everybody laughed.This was paybacktime! 5 stars
11/24/98 Fred If I were Brad, I'd have shot him, then myself. 5 stars
11/20/98 little jerry this film brings the serial killer genre to an electrifying FULL STOP.END OF THE LINE. 5 stars
11/16/98 Jules Opening credits were the best part. Predictable and ooh, sooo "disturbing" ending. 4 stars
10/20/98 Sailor Moon Ate My Balls What's with these sissy 7 Deadly Sins? Great movie, what else? 5 stars
10/19/98 Kwyjibo Unbelievable film. As gruesome as anything I've seen. 5 stars
10/16/98 eric sin-chan that movie doesn't make sense 2 stars
10/12/98 joseph brad blows--not scared--not religious 1 stars
10/12/98 jym okay film morgan freeman saved it---brad pitt's gotta go 2 stars
9/27/98 Heather Very very dark. Don't watch this one alone. 5 stars
9/27/98 {{{OZ}}} Just a total kickass burnin' my retinas movie event. Awesome. 5 stars
9/18/98 Badass Wow! 4 stars
9/17/98 Chuck-D Scared the shit outta me 5 stars
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  22-Sep-1995 (R)


  02-Nov-1995 (R)

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