Movie Review: Garish ‘Seven’ explores deadly sins

by Raechel Fittante
Features Editor

“Seven,” the major motion picture starring two of Hollywood’s favorite actors—Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman—is a garish murder mystery with a demented and hypnotic twist of events.

Pitt plays David Mills, a cynical homicide detective who transfers from his small hometown department and moves with his wife, played by Pitt’s real-life girlfriend Gwenyth Paltrow, to an unnamed big city full of crime, poverty and murder.

Morgan Freeman is William Sommer­set, a homicide detective in this particular city for more than 30 years who is just about to retire when a new serial killer turns up, systematically torturing and slaying people in the name of each of the seven deadly sins; gluttony, greed, lust, sloth, pride, envy and wrath.

Sommerset turns the case over to Mills after the first mutilated body is discovered, but becomes enthralled by the psychological workings of the mysterious killer and immediately aids Mills in figuring out who the killer could be by interpreting each clue the killer leaves behind as he strings them along to each new body. In the killer’s eyes, the victims are those who committed one of the deadly sins, and their deaths are gross exaggerations of the sin they lived by.

This trail of five murders leads the detectives to an explosive final confrontation incorporating the final two sins—wrath and envy. The end of the movie has a shocking twist that leaves the audience dumbfounded and questioning just how horrible society can really be. Though the killer is the cause of the deaths, society, with the everyday things people do, may be the actual villain in the film.

By the final scenes it is easy to relate to the killer and the genius behind his master plan to influence people to destroy the evils of the world, even though he sees his crimes as righteous acts rather than as the sins that they are.

The city setting is conspicuously dark and drab, and the social conditions were depressing; the city itself represents the epitome of horrible places to live in the world. Crime and poverty pollute the streets and the dark sides of every part of society, from the press and the law to the victims themselves, are exaggerated in a drastic way that leaves the audience feeling vulnerable to the permeating negativity of the world.

Mills and Sommerset strive to create justice in a city that breaks down their spirits, while they try to locate a serial murderer who uses symbolism to commit his crimes, but they become filled with growing anger and despair—mirrors of the killer himself. The only positive aspect of the film is Mills’ wife, Tracy, whose endangered innocence is a sad contrast to the violence around her.

Although Seven is explicit in nature, the only gore comes in brief flashes of the corpses. What is more graphic is the mere description of the murders as the detectives investigate the crime scenes and analyze the killer’s motives.

Even though the murders themselves are not shown, the audience still gets the full impact of the innovative, violent and demented acts from the shocked perspectives of the detectives. However, it is a sad commentary on the audience that we find ourselves wanting to see more of the scenes that the detectives see but only describe.

Although the dialogue is not necessarily extraordinary and the acting may not be Academy Award-winning material, the whole idea of the movie is what makes “Seven” astounding and original. One word accurately describes the movie—disturbing.

Raechel Fittante

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