I recommend Se7en not only because it is a brilliant piece of filmmaking, but also because it contains real truth about the world we live in. This truth may not be palatable, but it is undoubtedly honest.


This page was created on December 15, 2001
This page was last updated on May 29, 2005

Directed by David Fincher
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker

Morgan Freeman .... Detective William Somerset
Brad Pitt .... Detective David Mills Andrew
Kevin Walker .... Dead Man
Daniel Zacapa .... Detective Taylor
Gwyneth Paltrow .... Tracy Mills
John Cassini .... Officer Davis
Bob Mack .... Gluttony Victim
Peter Crombie .... Dr. O'Neill
Richard Roundtree .... Martin Talbot

Produced by Stephen Brown (III) (co-producer) Phyllis Carlyle (producer) William C. Gerrity (line producer: additional photography) Nana Greenwald (CO-producer) Lynn Harris (I) (co-executive producer) Dan Kolsrud (executive producer) Anne Kopelson (executive producer) Arnold Kopelson (producer) Gianni Nunnari (executive producer) Sanford Panitch (CO-producer) Michele Platt (associate producer) Richard Saperstein (CO-executive producer) Original music by David Bowie (uncredited) Howard Shore Non-original music by Johann Sebastian Bach (from "Bach's Suite No 3 in D-major, BWV 1068: Air") Cinematography by Darius Khondji Film Editing by Richard Francis-Bruce

MPAA: Rated R for grisly afterviews of horrific and bizarre killings, and for strong language.
Runtime: 123

Offical site

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Howard Shore, Various Artists 1995

1. In The Beginning - Statler Brothers [Music] 2. Guilty - Gravity Kills [Music] 3. Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye [Music] 4. Speaking of Happiness - Gloria Lynne [Music] 5. Suite No.3 in D, BWV 1068: Air - Stuttgarter Kamme Rochester/Karl Munchinger 6. Love Plus One - Haircut 100 [Music] 7. I Cover The Waterfront - Billie Holiday [Music] 8. Now's The Time - Charlie Parker [Music] 9. Straight, No Chaser - Thelonious Monk [Music] 10. Portrait Of John Doe - Howard Shore [Music] 11. Suite From Seven - Howard Shore

Let he who is without sin try to survive
Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman star in this sinister and gripping mystery-thriller about a pair of homicide detectives who must solve a puzzling series of horrific murders based on the seven deadly sins - Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy and Wrath. A powerful and unforgettable film, Se7en reveals the dark and disturbing underworld in which evil stalks.

Instinct vs Intellect
The two detectives represent the competing halves of human nature - Instinct Vs Intellect. The upstart Mills (Brad Pitt) wants to act first and worry about the consequences later, but the more experienced Somerset (Morgan Freeman) prefers to give a considered response:

Somerset: ?We have to divorce ourselves from emotion.?
Mills: ?Man, I feed off my emotions.?

God has given us emotions as well as the intelligence to use them wisely. We have to know when to think and when to act. The two detectives have taken these abilities to extremes, and their actions suffer accordingly.

Personal Responsibility
Because God took a huge risk and created us as moral creatures with free will, we are ultimately responsible for our own actions:

Somerset: ?If we catch John Doe and he turns out to be the Devil, I mean if he?s Satan himself, then that might live up to our expectations. But he?s not the Devil. He?s just a man.?

With free will, we can do great good, or great evil. The choice is ours. Living a life apart from God, we can sometimes make terrible errors of judgment. Se7en shows us what happens when a ?good? man relies on his own strength to make the right decision. The result is shocking, but honest. What would we do in the same situation?

Corporate Responsibility
Another theme running through the narrative is the tension between self and society. Somerset despises the city because people don?t help each other:

Somerset: ?I don?t think I can continue to live in a place that embraces and nurtures apathy as if it was a virtue.?

He is a man who has grown used to compromise and is desperate to retire and forget about the problems he faces in the (unnamed) city. At night he uses a metronome to blank out the noises around him, replacing chaos with order. Mills, on the other hand, is young and idealistic and is repulsed by Somerset?s cynicism:

Somerset: ?It?s easier to lose yourself in drugs than it is to cope with life. It?s easier to beat a child than it is to raise it. Love costs. It takes effort, work.?
Mills: ?I don?t agree with you. I do not. I can?t.?

The Letter of the Law
The serial killer John Doe (a name he himself chose to represent the ordinary man on the street) holds the only consistent moral viewpoint in the film. He wants to punish those he sees as ?sinners? in line with the Seven Deadly Sins of Christian tradition:

Doe: ?We see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it?s common, it?s trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon and night. Well, not any more. I?m setting the example, and what I?ve done is going to be puzzled over and studied and followed forever.?

Doe says he is doing God?s will - but in obeying the letter of the law and not the spirit in which it is written, he has become a dead thing: ?For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life? (2 Cor 3:6b). If we obey the letter of the law, and not the spirit in which it is written, we too can become ?religious? and end up persecuting others in a way that grieves God?s heart.

Light Vs Darkness
A key theme is the quest for light in a world filled with darkness. The crime scenes are often dimly lit (even nearby lamps do not pierce the gloom), the few city exteriors are overcast and rainy, and John Doe?s apartment is lit only by a red neon crucifix. Even when the cameras venture out into the bright desert landscape at the end of the film, the protagonists bring their own personal darkness out with them. ?The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.? (John 1:5) - this is a world that has chosen to separate itself totally from the love and power of Jesus.
A Fallen World
In the coda, Somerset says: ?Ernest Hemingway once wrote, ?The world is a fine place and worth fighting for?. I agree with the second part.? We, the audience, are invited to agree with this. How do we respond? This is certainly a fallen world, and since September 11 we are living in dark times, but think how awful it would be to have no free will in the first place?
Violent Reputation?
Please don?t be put off by Se7en?s violent reputation. While there are some grim crime scenes, the acts themselves have already taken place and it is the viewer?s imagination that does the work. Many key scenes happen off-camera, and there is virtually no explicit violence - a standard Mafia film contains far more blood and gore. I firmly believe that what little violence remains is essential to the storyline.
Click to enlargeConclusion:
I recommend Se7en not only because it is a brilliant piece of filmmaking, but also because it contains real truth about the world we live in. This truth may not be palatable, but it is undoubtedly honest. And with Hollywood?s obsession with gun-toting, wisecracking ?heroes?, it is good to see a crime thriller which highlights the problems and concerns that real people have about the way the world is going. The bottom line is that with or without Jesus Christ, there are no easy answers...
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Post your comments -click here.

Subject: Se7en
Date: Wed, 03 Apr 2002
From: Larry

molls, maybe people as affected as you seem to be should look a bit more into what a movie may be like before you see it. educate yourself about the topic perhaps? so as to not 'subject' yourself to such a horrid display of fine filmmaking. (thank you david) and if there is any movie to run screaming from..may I suggest taking your pick from any of the trash that has filled the cinema world for this year 2001-2002 year?
Subject: Se7en
Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2002
From: Jason Oda

T hello, i made a flash site for the movie se7en and i thought maybe you might want to check it out and possibly link it. it's at
it's not just a fan site kind of deal it's more like a multimedia experience through the seven sins according to fincher. write me back and let me know what you think.

Subject: Se7en
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002
From: Jayson Dibble, Kalamazoo, Michigan

 I disagree with "Mollie" somewhat in her reply to the review of Se7en: She argues that Christians don't need to be reminded of the ugliness in this world. Perhaps this is true of certain individuals, but she cannot claim that Christains in general need not be faced with our world's dark bits. Jesus says we don't have to be of this world, but we do have to live in it. And if we ever hope to make changes in it, we have to know what's wrong with it. Even as Christians, we're all at different levels of eye-opening. Some people need the movie's reminder. I don't want to take away or Mollie's opinions or the things she felt when viewing the film. However, I'd like her to understand that because we all were created differently and all make different choices, some of us are in a life station where Se7en reaches us where we may happen to be.
Peace be with you.
Jayson Dibble, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Subject: Se7en
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002
From: Matt
This is an incredible film. The acting, plot, and pacing work very well. Beibg a fan of horror movies, I can deal with certaiin amounts of gore, so I wasn't put off like Mollie was. I think that what the Kevin Spacey character did was sort of like what those members of the Taliban did on September 11. They took religious fanatacism too far. So did John Doe. The people he killed, for the most part, may have been the scum of the earth. However, he didn't have any right to do what he did. The members of the Taliban may think the same way about us in the US, but they obviously are confused about what God (Allah) wants.
It's like the olds saying, "The Road To Hell is paved with good intentions."

Subject: Se7en
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002
From: Mollie

I could have lived my entire life without seeing Se7en. I felt dirty when I left the theater. I think this is definitely a movie for "whatever is pure, whatever is holy. . .think on these things." I don't think Christians should have the images from that movie in their heads, and I'm sorry I saw it. I don't have to see that movie to know that this world is totally out of whack. Seeing the movie simply made me feel sick. It didn't help anything. I recommend to everyone to run screaming from this movie. It is not good for our brains or our hearts.

Se7en ? & ? 1995 New Line Home Entertainment, Inc.
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