name = Seven
caption = Theatrical poster
Andrew Kevin Walker
Morgan Freeman Brad Pitt Gwyneth Paltrow Kevin Spacey R. Lee Ermey
New Line Cinema
September 22, 1995
runtime = 127 min.
country = USA
language = English
budget = $30,000,000
gross = $327,311,859
amg_id = 1:135792
imdb_id = 114369
"Seven" (also marketed as "SE7EN") is an American 1995
Academy Award, BAFTAnominated crime filmdirected by David Fincherand written by Andrew Kevin Walker. The story follows two detectives, one retiring ( Morgan Freeman) and one his replacement ( Brad Pitt), jointly investigating a series of ritualistic murders inspired by the seven deadly sins.
In an unidentified city of constant rain and urban decay, Detective William Somerset is preparing to retire and leave the horrors of the city. Before he does he is partnered with Detective David Mills, a cocky, young and short-tempered cop from a small town. The two investigate the murder of a highly obese man who was fed spaghetti until his stomach burst from a kick. Somerset investigates the murder while Mills is given the murder case of Defense Attorney Eli Gould, with GREED written in Gould's blood on the floor. Soon after, Somerset finds GLUTTONY written behind the obese man's fridge and theorizes that a serial killer is basing his crimes on the
Seven Deadly Sins, with five more to go.
To give Mills and Somerset a chance to get along, Mills' wife, Tracy (
Gwyneth Paltrow) invites Somerset over for dinner.After Tracy goes to bed, Mills and Somerset examine case evidence from the two scenes. They find a picture of Gould's wife with blood painted around the eyes. The Detectives have a distraught Mrs. Gould look at the pictures in a safe houseand she notices an abstract painting that is upside down. Brushing powder on the wall behind the painting, Somerset finds fingerprints outlining the words "Help Me."
After running the fingerprints through AFIS, the prints are traced a day later to a pedophile named Victor, who escaped conviction for the rape of a minor due to the efforts of his lawyer: Eli Gould, the GREED victim.
SWATand the detectives raid his apartment to find Victor to be the SLOTH victim, having been bound to his bed for a year exactly, as evidenced by pictures at the scene; one taken every day from the day he is discovered. Remarkably, he is still alive but suffering from severe physical and mental deterioration. His hand was cut off to leave the prints. After asking to interrogate Victor in the hospital, the doctor says that his "brain is mush" and that his death is imminent anyway.
That evening, Tracy calls Somerset and requests that he meet with her. The next morning, Somerset meets Tracy in a diner where she tells him how miserable she is in "the city". At Somerset's urging, Tracy reveals the truth of her request to meet: she is pregnant, afraid of raising a child where they now live and afraid of telling her husband, David.
Later that day, and using a contact in the FBI, Somerset gets a library list of people who have borrowed books related to the Seven Deadly Sins. The list leads the detectives to a man named John Doe, whose apartment they visit soon after. Doe, his face hidden, sees them as he comes home and pulls out a gun. After a long chase, Doe hits Mills with a tire iron, keeps him subdued at gunpoint, but lets him live and suddenly flees. While examining Doe's apartment (after bribing a resident to claim she called the detectives about Doe) they find notebooks of his thoughts, trophies of the crimes and a picture of Mills fighting off Doe, who, at the time, was posing as a press photographer. They also find a photo of a young woman, a prostitute, who they believe may be the next victim. A receipt leads them to a S&M leather shop where Doe placed an order for a sexual device. The girl is soon found dead in a room with LUST written on the door. Also found in the room is a visibly shaken man forced by Doe at gunpoint to wear and use the device, a strap-on dildo with a blade attachment, to rape and kill the girl.
The next morning a model is found dead with PRIDE written on the crime scene. Doe cut off her nose ("to spite her face") and gave her the choice of suicide by sleeping pills or calling for help and living scarred. As the detectives return to the police headquarters, Doe walks up to them, his hands bleeding (he removed the skin from his fingers to avoid identification) and gives himself up. He talks to his lawyer and agrees that if he can take Somerset and Mills to two more bodies, he will confess to the murders. Wanting a confession, the detectives agree.
As the three travel to the desert outskirts of the city, Doe explains his rationale behind the murders as a way of showing people what the world is, as well as punishing the wicked. He goes on to say he will be remembered and admired for what he has done, while the disgusted Mills is driven to rage and screams at Doe while Somerset remains calmly worried.
Once they reach the outskirts, a van appears and Somerset stops it. The driver claims someone paid him $500 to deliver a box at this place and time. As Somerset opens the box, he recoils in horror from what he sees inside. As he screams to Mills and instructs him not to listen to Doe, Doe admits to Mills that he admires Mills' life, to the point of growing jealous of his wife and the love they share. He states that he tried to "play husband" with Tracy that day but it didn't work out and he took a souvenir instead: "her pretty head". It was Doe's plan that Mills kill him, as he was guilty of ENVY. He also reveals to Mills that Tracy was pregnant. Mills, despite the pleading of Somerset, is too shocked into tears by his wife's death and the knowledge that she was pregnant and empties his gun into Doe. Mills, by killing Doe in vengeance, comes to embody the sin of WRATH.
After a catatonic Mills is taken away, Somerset states that he will stay with the police department, eschewing retirement.
Morgan Freemanas Detective Lt. William Somerset
Brad Pittas Detective David Mills
Gwyneth Paltrowas Tracy Mills
Kevin Spaceyas John Doe
R. Lee Ermeyas Police Captain
John C. McGinleyas California
Julie Araskogas Mrs. Gould
Richard Roundtreeas Dist. Atty. Martin Talbot
In an interview with "
Cinefantastique" magazine, Andrew Kevin Walkerstated that the primary influence for the film's screenplay came from his time spent in New York Citywhile trying to make it as a screenwriter. "I didn't like my time in New York, but it's true that if I hadn't lived there I probably wouldn't have written "Seven"."
The urban streets filled with crowded, noisy denizens while an oppressive rain always seems to fall without respite was an integral part of the film, as Fincher wanted to show a city that was "dirty, violent, polluted, often depressing. Visually and stylistically, that's how we wanted to portray this world. Everything needed to be as authentic and raw as possible."
To this end, Fincher turned to production designer Arthur Max to create a dismal world that often eerily mirrors its inhabitants. "We created a setting that reflects the moral decay of the people in it," says Max. "Everything is falling apart, and nothing is working properly." The film's brooding, dark look was also created through a unique chemical process called
bleach bypass, whereby the silver in the film stock was re-bonded which in turn deepened the dark, shadowy images in the film and increased its overall tonal quality.
An early version of the script features a completely different ending in which Doe's visiting and killing Tracy does not occur. Instead there is a final confrontation between Doe, Mills and Somerset. Doe kills Mills, and in his rage, Somerset acts out the sin of wrath, taking brutal vengeance upon Doe. Somerset shoots Doe not to kill, but rather to inflict maximum pain, shooting Doe in each arm and each leg. As Doe writhes in agony, Somerset sets Doe ablaze and lets him burn alive.
In this version of the script the ending suggests that Somerset will not retire after all. Instead, the now-widowed Tracy moves away to have her baby and try to find the kind of life to which Somerset had envisioned himself retiring. He symbolically passes what had been his vision of his future on to her.
The special edition of the DVD makes clear that other endings were considered. An unfilmed alternate ending features Somerset shooting John Doe in an act of self-sacrifice to save Mills. When Mills yells "What are you doing?" Somerset says, "I'm retiring."
On the DVD commentary, Fincher states that once the desired resolution to the Doe/Mills/Somerset confrontation was settled upon, the film was then to end immediately after Mills shot Doe— the final camera shots being the scene of the crime seen from the helicopter. Nevertheless, in the end the additional scene was added with Mills being driven off and Somerset indicating that he would not retire yet.
"Seven" was released on
September 22, 1995in 2,441 theaters where it grossed USD$13.9 million on its opening weekend. It went on to gross $100.1 million in North America and $227.1 million in the rest of the world for a total of $327.3 million.cite news | last = | first = | coauthors = | title = "Seven" | work = | pages = | language = | publisher = Box Office Mojo | date = | url = http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=seven.htm | accessdate = 2008-03-26 ]
The film was generally well-received by critics and currently has an 84% rating at
Rotten Tomatoes. Gary Arnold, in the " Washington Times", praised the cast: "The film's ace in the hole is the personal appeal generated by Mr. Freeman as the mature, cerebral cop and Mr. Pitt as the young, headstrong cop. Not that the contrast is inspired or believable in itself. What gets to you is the prowess of the co-stars as they fill out sketchy character profiles".cite news | last = Arnold | first = Gary | coauthors = | title = Sinister "Seven" a killer of a thriller | work = | pages = | language = | publisher = Washington Times| date = September 22, 1995| url = | accessdate = ] Sheila Johnston, in her review for " The Independent", praised Freeman's performance: "the film belongs to Freeman and his quiet, carefully detailed portrayal of the jaded older man who learns not to give up the fight".cite news | last = Johnston| first = Sheila | coauthors = | title = Sin has seldom looked so good | work = | pages = | language = | publisher = The Independent| date = January 4, 1996| url = | accessdate = ]
New Line Cinemare-released "Seven" in Westwood, Californiaon Christmas Day and in New York Cityon December 29, 1996in attempt to generate Academy Awardnominations for Freeman, Pitt, Fincher, and Walker.cite news | last = Cox | first = Dan | coauthors = | title = "Seven" gets new dates for Oscar season | work = | pages = | language = | publisher = Variety | date = December 22, 1995| url = | accessdate = ]
Walker received a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Film editor Richard Francis-Brucewas nominated for an Academy Award for Film Editing, and Director of Photography Darius Khondji's extensive use of bleach bypassfilm processing has since been noted as a major influence on contemporary cinematographic technique, especially in the late 1990s. [ [http://www.showreel.org/memberarea/article.php?174 Showreel article : David Fincher's Zodiac A change in the stars ] ] The film was given an MTV Movie Award as best movie.
For the DVD release, "Seven" was remastered and presented in the widescreen format, preserving the 2.40:1 aspect ratio of its original theatrical exhibition. Audio options include Dolby EX 5.1, DTS ES Discrete 6.1, and Stereo Surround Sound.
The "Seven" DVD features four newly recorded, feature-length audio commentaries featuring the stars and other key contributors to the film, who talk about their experiences making "Seven". This DVD is also compatible with DVD-ROM drives. Disc One features a printable screenplay with links to the film.
In 2006, comic book publisher
Zenescope Entertainmentbegan a seven-issue miniseries, each issue focusing on one of Doe's victims before they were killed; e.g. the first issue, "SE7EN: Gluttony", focuses on the "fat man". [ [http://www.aintitcool.com/node/30112] [http://www.zenescope.com/bookpages/seven01.htm] [http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/reviews/115747906025976.htm] ]
During the opening credits, there is brief footage of a real suicide letter. The text is smudged from teardrops. This is explained by crew members on the commentary track of the special edition DVD.
The opening credit music is a spliced sample of an uncredited remix of the
Nine Inch Nailssong "Closer", available as "Closer (Precursor)" on the "Closer" single. The song during the end credits is David Bowie's song " The Hearts Filthy Lesson", found on the Outside album. The film's original score is by Howard Shore.
#"In the Beginning" -
The Statler Brothers
#"Trouble Man" -
#"Speaking of Happiness" -
#"Suite No. 3 in D Major", BWV 1068 "Air" - written by
Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by Stuttgarter Kammerorche [ster] / Karl Münchinger
#"Love Plus One" -
#"I Cover the Waterfront" -
#"Now's the Time" -
#"Straight, No Chaser" -
#"Portrait of John Doe" -
#"Suite from Seven" -
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