Se7en (1995) dir. David Fincher



When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills (Brad Pitt), they discover a number of elaborate and grizzly murders. They soon realize they are dealing with a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who is targeting people he thinks represent one of the seven deadly sins. Somerset also befriends Mills’ wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is pregnant and afraid to raise her child in the crime-riddled city.

While it may not have the same kind of name recognition as some of Fincher’s more flashy films, Seven confronts many of the same themes as those productions: the search for something lost in a nameless city, something authentic, some sense of authority and order (a largely masculine one at that) that unfolds in the course of a cinematic psychoanalysis. One could say this process of psychoanalysis is reflective: thought it most obviously examines the gruesome, terrible intricacies of an individual mind, it ends up engaging in the psychoanalysis of society as a whole. It is not just what brought this “John Doe” to violence and (mutual) destruction, it is a fundamental question of how and why society made the space for these individuals; who is really to blame? Brooding on the edge of sanity throughout its tense course, Seven’s gloomy cinematography explores the nature of violence in modern society, and the degrees to which human resilience can be tested.

dir. David Fincher
127 min.

35mm print!

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