Brad Pitt - Seven!

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Se7en - Brad Pitt as Detective David Mills

 

 

Description:

A film about two homicide detectives' desperate hunt for a serial killer who justifies his crimes as absolution for the world's ignorance of the Seven Deadly Sins. The movie takes us from the tortured remains of one victim to the next as the sociopathic "John Doe" sermonizes to Detectives Sommerset and Mills -- one sin at a time. The sin of Gluttony comes first and the murderer's terrible capacity is graphically demonstrated in the dark and subdued tones characteristic of film noir. The seasoned and cultured Sommerset researches the Seven Deadly Sins in an effort to understand the killer's modus operandi while green Detective Mills scoffs at his efforts to get inside the mind of a killer...

Pictures:

 

Movie Review:

The movie Seven (also known as Se7en) is a 1995 American murder thriller starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, revolving around a serial killer obsessed with the seven deadly sins, who uses the sins themselves as calling cards in a series of ritualistic murders. It was directed by David Fincher (his second movie) and written by Andrew Kevin Walker who received a nomination for a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay.

The film utilizes a visual film technique known as bleach bypass. Film editor Richard Francis-Bruce was nominated for an Academy Award for Film Editing.


Cast
* Brad Pitt ... Detective David Mills
* Morgan Freeman ... Detective Lt. William Somerset
* Gwyneth Paltrow ... Tracy Mills
* R. Lee Ermey ... The Captain
* Daniel Zacapa ... Detective Taylor
* John Cassini ... Detective Davis

Tagline: "Seven deadly sins. Seven ways to die."
Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.

Seven stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as the two detectives in charge of solving the crimes, Gwyneth Paltrow as the wife of Pitt's character, and Kevin Spacey as the killer, John Doe. Spacey asked that his name not be included in the opening credits, in order to conceal the killer's identity.


Plot


Greed and Gluttony

The story unfolds in a rainy non-descript American metropolis that (despite inclement conditions) is most likely Los Angeles given its proximity to a characteristically Californian desert. Drawing from the worst aspects of urban life -- crime, congestion, inner-city decay etc., the dystopian atmosphere lends support to the biblical nature of the film's premise and could possibly be a reference to Sodom and Gomorrah; symbolizing a sinful environment where depravity, avarice and generally inimical conduct is rampant. Detective Lt. William Somerset (Freeman) (possibly named for W. Somerset Maugham) is preparing to retire from police work after many gruelling and unpleasant years of dealing with the destitution and apathy bred within the grimy and forlorn city that is constantly depicted as sordid and dark. In his last week, he is partnered with Detective David Mills (Pitt), a much younger and more naive officer who just relocated to the department from somewhere outside the metropolis.

They meet one another at a crime scene in which an obese man who was force-fed, bound and tortured, lies dead. He has wires on ankles and wrists, and there is a bucket of vomit under the table. The pathologist later verifies that the man was fed repeatedly, then kicked in the side so he burst. This caused his stomach to split and led to an internal hemorrhage that brought on his demise. The first bit of evidence that has the two detectives believe they are after a killer with a grudge is Somerset's discovery of two shopping receipts, indicating that the killer had left the cockroach-infested, filthy apartment to visit a supermarket in between force-feeding the victim, who had eaten all the food in the house.

After their captain (R. Lee Ermey) confronts the detectives in his office, Somerset argues that Mills should be placed on a different assignment. However, soon after, the gruesome murder of the prominent Jewish lawyer Eli Gould is discovered. Gould was made to excise a pound of his own flesh in the tradition of William Shakespeare's Jewish character Shylock. A note is left in Gould office with an extract from The Merchant of Venice, and written on the floor in Gould's blood is the word GREED. Somerset goes back to the first victim's house and does some re-investigating, and finds GLUTTONY written in grease behind the refrigerator of the apartment in which the obese man was murdered. He also finds a note reading "Long is the way and hard that out of Hell leads up to light", a quote from Milton's Paradise Lost. He begins to suspect that the crimes are related, and confronts his superior to warn that there will be five more murders, each patterned after the remaining five of the seven deadly sins. He says that the Milton quote means the murder spree is just beginning.

Somerset and Mills team up once again, and all previous tension seems to be obliterated after Mills' wife Tracy invites the demoralised and pessimistic detective to their new house for dinner. That same evening, they find a set of fingerprints at the site of Gould's murder. The evidence, cleverly hidden behind a painting which Mrs. Gould notices has been turned upside down, belong to a known child molester and drug dealer, but as the task force prepare to storm the offender's residence the following morning, Somerset is already sure that he is not the person they are looking for.


Sloth

He is proved right when the man is found tied to his bed, alive but suffering from severe muscular deterioration after having spent a year completely immobile, Somerset once again voices concern that they stand little chance of catching the cold-blooded, calculating killer, who photographed the process of the tied man's deterioration and manipulated the evidence the detectives collected to ensure that they discovered his victim exactly one year after he rendered him immobile. Besides the fact that the victim's brain is completely 'mush' and he has "chewed off his own tongue", the perpetrator severed his hand, which explains how his prints turned up at the scene of Eli Gould's murder. The word SLOTH is written on the wall.

Later Somerset receives a phone call from Mills' wife Tracy requesting a private talk. They meet, and she informs Somerset that she is pregnant, but is not sure bringing a child into this world would be wise. She tearfully says that she hates the city. Somerset tells her he was faced with the same decision at one point in life and chose the path of abortion. He has regretted it ever since, and advises her to never let Mills know she was pregnant if she chooses not to have it. He tells her that if she keeps the baby she should spoil it every chance she gets, and this seems to cheer her up slightly.

With the investigation going nowhere, Somerset pays a contact in the FBI to print out the list of names on the government database of "flagged" library books (e.g. Mein Kampf). Through the list (which is not fictitious and does exist in reality), they come up with a list of possible matches, one of which is an individual named Jonathan Doe (a play on the John Doe name used for anonymous crime victims). When they visit Doe's apartment, he opens fire at them from further down the hall and leads them on a lengthy chase through labyrinth-like decrepit tenement buildings. Incidentally, these scenes were shot on location at the run-down yet historically significant Alexandria Hotel in downtown Los Angeles (during its heyday the hotel was a favorite haunt of Charlie Chaplin among other Hollywood notables). During the pursuit, Mills is injured by Doe who spares his life but escapes capture. (This injury was added to the story after Brad Pitt injured himself attempting a stunt in the scene.)


Lust

The inside of the man's apartment contains a darkroom and meticulously kept logs of the killer's random thoughts. Amongst the heap that suggests Jonathan Doe is an obsessive maniac, evidence of possible future victims arises. One of them seems to be a prostitute. There is also a receipt from a custom fetish shop for an item that winds up being used in the murder of said prostitute; LUST is scratched into the door outside a murder scene where a frantic man with a serrated weapon covering his penis was forced to copulate with a bound working girl. Mills and Somerset later argue in a bar about the value of what they are doing, and Somerset is not convinced that staying on as a policeman would make any difference.


Pride

A fifth victim turns up the next day after a phone call from John Doe to his own apartment. A model is found dead in her own bedroom. Doe cut off her nose--"to spite her face"--then offered her a choice of living with her disfigurement or suicide, by gluing a box of pills to one hand (from which she could overdose) and a phone to call for help to the other. By choosing suicide, she accedes to the sin of PRIDE, which is written in blood on the headboard of the bed. When Mills and Somerset return to police headquarters, John Doe (Kevin Spacey) confronts them. His shirt is covered in blood.

Doe offers to plead guilty but only if allowed to escort the detectives to his final revelation. On the way there, he extensively alludes to the greatness of his achievement, and seems particularly preoccupied with Detective Mills. He offers reasons as to why he has committed the heinous murders, and explains that in order to arouse a heightened consciousness in the desensitised, amoral people of today, one cannot expect to tap them on the shoulder and have them listen, but rather hit them with a sledge hammer. He says that these days, people see deadly sins everywhere and just ignore them, but they won't do that anymore. Detective Mills tells him he's not a Messiah, just a "Movie of the Week" or a T-shirt slogan.


Envy and Wrath
Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman in a scene
Enlarge
Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman in a scene

When they arrive at Doe's prearranged location, dry and desert-like, a delivery truck pulls up. Inside is a delivery for Mills, which Somerset opens. He tells Mills, who is struggling to ignore Jonathan Doe's comments, not to come near the box. Doe's incessant rambling reveals that he had visited Tracy after Mills left for work and tried to play husband. The independently wealthy Doe envied the fruits of a common man's life and is thus guilty of ENVY. Doe then discloses that he killed Tracy and her unborn baby, and it becomes apparent that Mills was unaware of her pregnancy and that the object in the box is Tracy's severed head. Enraged, Mills pulls out his gun and dramatically contemplates killing Doe. Somerset tries to stop him, arguing that Doe's revelations only stand if he is killed for his sin of Envy and if Mills is the one who kills him and so becomes the embodiment of WRATH. "If you kill him, he wins," says Somerset. The distraught and emotional Mills is overcome by the death of his wife and their unborn baby, whom he did not know existed until Doe told him. He shoots the killer in the head. John Doe drops dead, victorious. Mills shoots him a few more times even though he is already dead.

In the final scene, Mills is taken into custody. Somerset is assured by the captain that, for the immediate future (Mills's final fate is not known), Mills will be taken care of. The film concludes when, in voice-over, sirens wailing in the background, Somerset says "Ernest Hemingway once wrote: the world is a fine place, and worth fighting for. I agree with the second part."


Trivia

* One version of the script contained a few scenes following the final confrontation between the detectives and John Doe. In one Somerset is in the hospital recovering from being shot by Mills and the captain delivers him a letter from Mills which reads, "You were right. You were right about everything."
* Shortly before shooting John Doe, a flash of Mills' wife's face appears on screen.
* In The Butterfly Effect, the main characters are shown viewing the scene featuring the obese man.
* Michael Stipe, lead singer of R.E.M. was originally offered the role of the serial killer; John Doe.


Soundtrack

The opening credit music was a nearly-unrecognizable remix of "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails, available as Closer (precursor) on the Closer to God single. The closing credit music is "The Hearts Filthy Lesson" by David Bowie.

1. "In the Beginning" - The Statler Brothers
2. "Guilty" - Gravity Kills
3. "Trouble Man" - Marvin Gaye
4. "Speaking of Happiness" - Gloria Lynne
5. "Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068 "Air"
6. "Love Plus One" - Haircut 100 ListenMusic
7. "I Cover the Waterfront" - Billie Holiday
8. "Now's the Time" - Charlie Parker
9. "Straight, No Chaser" - Thelonious Monk
10. "Portrait of John Doe"
11. "Suite from Seven"