Film Review: “Se7en” by Blade Brown (#FlashBackFriday)
Plot: Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.
This week marks the 20 year anniversary since this masterpiece has been released. The story of Detective Mills (Brad Pitt) and Somerset (Morgan Freeman) chasing a serial killer is widely recognized as having one of the darkest endings is cinema history. While the ending is indeed grand, the build up leading to it is as suspenseful as any film you’ll ever see.
Somerset is two weeks from retirement. Looking for a quiet exit to his long career. Mills is on the rise. A hungry man looking to establish himself in the department. They’re partnered up by their captain, who hopes Somerset can drop some wisdom on the young detective before he leaves. When the first in a string of murders that pile up hits, Mills is eager to take them on, while Somerset senses this is no ordinary crime. It’s after the second one that Somerset sees the upcoming pattern of the Seven Deadly Sins being the method behind the murders, after the words “Gluttony” & “Greed” are both left at the crime scenes. From there, the detectives try to bond and solve this bizarre case before more bodies pile up.
During their bonding, Somerset meets Mills’ wife Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow) who eventually opens up to Somerset about her disdain for the city, and contemplating an abortion because of her fear of raising a family where she’s not happy. The only advice he gives her is that if she decides to not have the baby, to never tell Mills. As he’s had that situation happen to him in the past, and was never able to move past it. As the investigation deepens, the murders get more brutal. The detectives eventually close in on a man named whom they believe to be the killer, but he narrowly escapes their pursuit. Later, the man, “John Doe” (Kevin Spacey) turns himself in, covered in blood and agrees to confess to all the crimes. But only after the detectives take him out to the desert, where he promises there are two more bodies waiting. The detectives reluctantly agree, and what happens next is one of the darkest and most twisted final acts I’ve ever seen. Even knowing what happens, I still cringe when hearing Mills scream “What’s In The Box”.
It’s hard to believe, but Freeman, Pitt and Spacey weren’t the first choice to play their characters. Al Pacino was approached to play Somerset, but passed in order to make City Hall. Denzel Washington and Sylvester Stallone were both offered the role of Mills but both turned the down. And lastly, Spacey got his Academy Award winning role of John Doe after Ned Beatty declined to take the role, stating that it was “The most evil thing he’d ever read”. While it might’ve been interesting to see these other choices play out (Denzel Washington/Morgan Freeman combo could’ve been legendary), there’s no denying that the end result of the film shows that all parties involved were the right choices.
If you’ve never seen Seven, I suggest you search Netflix and make time to check it out. You’re doing a disservice to yourself by not seeing this fantastic film. Its one of my all time favorites, and one of the best you’ll ever see.
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