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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 9.14%
Average: 2.03%
Pretty Bad: 5.58%
Total Crap: 4.57%

7 reviews, 155 user ratings

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by MP Bartley

"One of the greatest films ever made? Without a shadow of a doubt"
5 stars

Can there ever be such a thing as a 'perfect' film? Something that's beyond criticism, untouchable and um-improvable? You could argue 'yes' or 'no' for as long as you like, but one thing's for sure, whatever side of the fence you come down on, you've got to admit that 'Se7en' is as close to cinematic perfection as you're likely to get.

Think about it, what is there to improve in 'Se7en'? Absolutely nothing. Everything works majestically - the look, the script, the characters, the actors, the production design, the cinematography - hell, 'Se7en' is a film where afterwards you say "Jesus, even the sound design was great!". And I'm someone who couldn't care less about the sound design in films generally.

And we're not talking about aspects of film that are ok and just serviceable. Nothing is 'just ok' about this film. Everything is plotted down and designed up to the max. In an effort to achieve quality, 'Se7en' has created a world where it's hard to pick out anything as fake or as a rushed job just to get the film made. The grime of the streets practically drips out of the frame. You can almost feel the downpour of rain on your face. The harsh, screeching sound of the city will follow your every step for days.
You could take any frame from this film and hang it up as a work of art.

The plot - well we all know the plot - serial killer inflicting seven deadly sins on 'sinners' across the city much to the disgust and increasing bewilderment of retiring detective Somerset (Freeman) and his hot-headed replacement Mills (Pitt).

So what's so good about 'Se7en' then? Everything. Fincher's camera-work is superb, prowling and peering into every dark nook and granny, getting right into the gory details of the murders without lingering too long to turn off the audience. Instead his glimpses of the corpses just leaves the audience wondering "what the hell was that I just saw?" to draw them in. And there's none of Finchers flashy, swooping camera moves here (think of the flying through the key-hole shots of 'Panic Room') to distract us. His work here is slow and relentless in the way it grabs the audience by the throat and pulls them into the darkest corners of the human mind.

The look of the film. The cinematography simply cannot be matched here. Almost relentlessly gloomy and dirty until the final 20 minutes set in glaring, harsh sunlight it's been ripped off countless times since. But none of its cheap imitations have ever looked as real as this city does. This truly looks like the nasty part of town you just don't dare go down even during the day. Nothing about it cries out 'movie set!'. It's like an ancestor to the city in 'Blade Runner'.

The script. By God, the script's smart. Characters are perfectly developed and matched, no-one acts out of character just to serve the plot and it's paced perfectly. It even gets away with the killer giving himself up twenty minutes before the end, and still coming up with a climax to beat all climaxes. Throw in references to Dante, the Bible and the Marquis De Sade without drowning the audience in a 'I'm so clever' approach and you have a script that should be studied and talked about...forever.

The acting. We all know that Morgan Freeman is regarded in a God-like status by any sensible person. For two reasons mainly: 'The Shawshank Redemption' and this. He's never been as good again and to be frank, has been living off this role ever since. He's superb, underplaying to perfection as a once optimistic man, beaten into down-beat cynicism by the filth of the world around him. You know to get worried when he says he hasn't seen anything like this because you get the impression that he has seen a lot of nasty things in the world. The saddest thing about Somerset? He can't quite give up hope for the world and its inhabtitants.

People generally dis-regard Brad Pitt, but he's criminally underrated in general, and in particular here. Put it this way, imagine Tom Cruise in the role and think how less effective 'Se7en' would be without Pitt. Pitt drops any pretence of a pretty-boy actor and gives a raw and frustrated performance.

And Spacey...keep your Hannibal Lecters and Henrys, because John Doe is the scariest serial killer ever produced. And you never even see him kill anyone. Instead, his soft reasoning tones as he matter-of-factly explains away his crimes leaves you a) utterley terrified and b) almost convinced he's right. Spacey is served up some great script-lines and he nails them all without ever going over the top.

These 3 performances alone should have all gained Oscar nominations.

And's all in the details. So much is left up to the audiences imagination which is why it's just so damn scary. Conversations detailing the murders, photos of the corpses or weapons used tossed casually on a desk, sounds that come from nowhere and just freak you out, the insanely tidy hand-writing in John Does diary, the objects in Doe's apartment covered in dirt and grease just to chill the bone, air fresheners hanging from the ceiling...the devil's in the details people.

Like I say, this film is practically a work of art. And the climax? Well we all know what's in the box now...but it still shocks the almighty hell out of you.

Keep your 'Manhunters' and 'Silence of the Lambs'. They're just haunted-house rides at a fairground. For a real, terrifying trip into the deepest, darkest recesses of the human soul, and glimpse of what horror really is, just stick 'Se7en' into your dvd player. And remember: this isn't going to have a happy ending...

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originally posted: 03/18/04 22:43:00
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User Comments

3/24/17 Louise (the real one) It's OK but I've seen way scarier films 3 stars
10/30/16 morris campbell horrifing makes silence of the lambs look like abed time story 5 stars
3/24/14 Justin R. What a climax! Incredible film! 5 stars
3/16/12 stanley welles well crafted and ingeniously clever 5 stars
1/28/10 polar opposite now this is a masterpiece 5 stars
12/03/09 Jeff Wilder THE serial killer movie. 5 stars
8/21/09 brian One of the bleakest and most disturbing films ever to come out of Hollywood. Incredible. 5 stars
7/08/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* DARK, spooky, and will keep you on the edge of your seat 5 stars
11/26/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
9/30/08 Josh Phenomenal 5 stars
4/09/08 Dave Cops didn't try to prevent murders. Bad pacing. Good dialogue. Decent movie. 4 stars
2/04/08 Pamela White Very disturbing religious crime thriller 5 stars
1/31/08 Hayes Fantastic, unforgetable, terrifying masterpiece 5 stars
12/18/07 Quigley Very interesting film that you won't forget. Fincher is an amazing director. Sloth = scary 5 stars
11/25/07 Bitchflaps Intense, terrifying, ugly 5 stars
6/12/07 al smith finchers films are amazing and thought provoking this is a classic 5 stars
4/24/07 fools♫gold Something special to see here, people. 5 stars
12/30/06 AJ Muller To bring up the gore is to miss the point; this is thoughtful, serious, and for adults. 5 stars
10/19/06 David Pollastrini brilliant, frightening 5 stars
8/20/06 Sepi53 Thrilling, dark masterpiece! 5 stars
8/05/06 Stanley Thai Another over rated film with a clever ending. Nothing special to see here, people. 3 stars
6/12/06 the rock HOLY FUCKING SHIT 5 stars
6/11/06 Vince Absolute master piece 5 stars
6/06/06 Thomas FINCHER IS GOD 5 stars
1/21/06 ronald the sixth sense was better,this relies on gore factor like most of fincher's films 1 stars
12/03/05 Jennifer S. As far as thrillers go, this is the cream of the crop! 5 stars
11/19/05 The bride Absolutley genius film making, one of the best films ever created, ever. That ending... 5 stars
10/08/05 Desperado the ending almost made me throw up, to think that could actually happen, Jesus 4 stars
8/30/05 ES patience is not always a virtue, this is an unnerving film for sure 5 stars
8/22/05 Eden Its dark and depressing but brilliant in every way. That ending! 5 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma A truly dark and chilling thrill ride 5 stars
5/27/05 Lord Haw Haw Disturbing, unsettling, punch in the guts ending. 5 stars
3/27/05 indrid cold Makes SOTL look like Captain Kangaroo. Brilliant ending. 5 stars
1/16/05 Mr. Durden Great movie, not as good as SOTL but great all the same. 5 stars
12/07/04 Kurt Cobain Ending- a let down? HAHA, the ending was the ebst part of this excellent thriller. 5 stars
11/23/04 Archanist_101 NOT BAD!... Ending's sort of a let down though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
9/01/04 Andy Edge The absolute dog's gongs 5 stars
8/21/04 Jenny Lucas This movie freakin rocks 5 stars
8/16/04 Peter James Unsettling and is quite possibly David Fincher's greatest work 5 stars
8/13/04 McGraw Gritty, dark, thrilling, and 1000 times better then "The Silence of the Lambs". 5 stars
7/08/04 Spinz Crazy-mazing... but how the hell do u pronounce the title? is it 'seven' or 'sesevenen'?? 5 stars
7/08/04 Denise truly great 5 stars
7/07/04 EricDSnider Brilliant, dark and disturbing 5 stars
6/14/04 MyGreenBed Darker than one might expect. Brad Pitt's easily one of the worst actors of the modern era. 3 stars
5/13/04 Me Cool! 5 stars
5/01/04 the bride flawlessly well acted, written and directed thriller. but also extremely unsettiling... 5 stars
4/18/04 Martin Unreal. The dialogue is fabulous. One of the only movies I never tire of watching. 5 stars
4/14/04 slayathon An amazing job from Spacey, totally makes the film in my top faves 5 stars
4/08/04 Valarie good movie!!! Crazy!! 5 stars
3/30/04 midget very good movie....pretty graphic, but amazing 5 stars
3/24/04 Margie everything's just perfect.. the casting, the music, everything.perfectly gruesome and great 5 stars
3/24/04 Lord Haw Haw Creepy, eerie, unsettling with a punch in the guts ending. 5 stars
3/22/04 susan lee kevin spacey is really creepy. 5 stars
3/19/04 Teresa Williams The only movie, other than Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to creep me out! 5 stars
1/28/04 LIAM JACKSON spacey plays one of the most sick, insane guys i've ever seen on screen. 5 stars
11/24/03 Nicole One of my all-time favorites! 5 stars
10/23/03 Frostbite Falls Forget Pitt but Spacey is one of the creepiest villains ever put to film 5 stars
9/03/03 chris my god. 5 stars
7/13/03 Sean Smith Chilling and yet so plausible 5 stars
7/12/03 Indrid Cold Not terribly original, but flawlessly done. Brilliantly plotted and shot. 5 stars
7/07/03 Tom <MIND OF A LUNATIC > What a ending, very very good 5 stars
5/15/03 joshx42 The greatest thriller ever made. Period. 5 stars
4/01/03 Jack Sommersby A classic. 5 stars
3/17/03 Blah. I just watched it, it was Somerset who quotes Hemingway at the very end, and it's a box. 5 stars
2/06/03 123 style + dark + smart = cool 5 stars
11/21/02 Ponyboy It was Somerset who quoted Hemingway dipshit. You're lucky stupidity isn't a sin. 5 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 Pitt & Freedman are great, but Kevin Spacey and the Hemingway quote were terrific! 5 stars
10/24/02 Charles Tatum Spacey is the creepiest killer ever 5 stars
10/11/02 Butterbean Better than the Hannibal franchise 5 stars
10/09/02 artemishia youre a fucking t-shirt at best! At best! 5 stars
10/08/02 ielly laverty you fucking idiot, it was john doe who quoted hemingway 5 stars
8/25/02 Turkish like the best detective movie of all time 5 stars
7/12/02 KMG "What's in the baaaag...what's in the baaag?!" 5 stars
5/21/02 Veronica Foxx Great. This could have been Planet 9 pt 2 (its not) but the ending would've made up for it. 4 stars
4/27/02 maximal01 What's in the box? Watch the movie and find out, and know: the world is a sick, sick place 5 stars
4/08/02 Nicole One of the best movies I have EVER seen. Nothing compares to the shock at the end. 5 stars
4/02/02 lauren mccreight one of those movies that sticks to you for days after.... 5 stars
3/20/02 Aborted Gently Disturbing and with a great edge. The ending is still great to watch. 5 stars
3/16/02 Slick Had me leaving the cinema thinking that just blew my mind. The finest movie in it's genre. 5 stars
3/01/02 Butterbean Next to "Heat", this is the best cop thriller 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Interesting. Not enthralling. 3 stars
1/21/02 Steve Seven is probably one of my favorite cop/thriller movies ever. 5 stars
1/20/02 Gary Pacy and well-directed enough to almost cover up for the deceptively thin characters. 4 stars
1/19/02 Magnum Craphole While not perfect, Se7en is a good thriller with exceptional cinematography. 4 stars
1/06/02 The Man Too often considered a good thriller...This is an American classic 5 stars
1/03/02 Scream-Mania Really good thriller movie. 5 stars
12/22/01 kyle ---------------------------------------------------------------------> 5 stars
12/06/01 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Worth it, just to see Ms Paltrow decapitated. 4 stars
12/01/01 Mark Conway One of the best movies i have ever seen, morgan freeman is brilliant a must see. 5 stars
11/30/01 Rutt13 One of the dullest, most overrated wastes of time ever, no gore even 2 stars
9/03/01 Butterbean This is the best cop flick * EVER!!! * 5 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk Fincher's sophomore effort shows what this cutting-edge director is made of. Great cast. 5 stars
7/29/01 Henry Ginsberg Great ending . 5 stars
7/21/01 Phil M. Afficianado Disturbing, gritty, shocking. You can see the end coming, but only "sort of". Excellent 4 stars
7/17/01 Piz Great movie..thank God for Freeman and Spacey, Pitt's crying scene at the end was pathetic 5 stars
6/25/01 Matt Dorsey Saw it for the first time today, and it lived up to the hype I've heard. 4 stars
6/18/01 Ken One of the most intense endings in movie history. 5 stars
6/15/01 zombie great 4 stars
6/02/01 BrainPan Freaky as hell. Don't watch it alone. Wait. DO watch it alone. 5 stars
5/13/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Gwyneth Paltrow's head in a box?? FUCK, YEAH!!!! 5 stars
5/09/01 Jake I just didn't buy it. Tried too hard to be something but lost on me. 2 stars
5/04/01 roby lafon outstanding cast 5 stars
3/28/01 Monster W. Kung Equal if not better than the overrated "Silence Of The Lambs". 4 stars
2/12/01 Jake This is perhaps the most overrated thriller ever made. Copycat was more exciting. 2 stars
2/12/01 Leather jacket I'd (by a landslide) would prefer Halloween or Cujo anyday 1 stars
1/09/01 ~baby girl~ it was awesome and it makes you think 5 stars
9/13/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Worth it just to see Ms Paltrow's head in a box. 4 stars
8/28/00 Aly Shallwani Knowlegdes is power! the one who has the most wins the games...hats wa this movies is bout 5 stars
8/14/00 Diana Michelle The scariest, coldest movie I have ever seen. 5 stars
7/31/00 Trevor Vos kickass movie- watch it again and again and again 5 stars
7/17/00 DSM-IV Despite Pitt&Paltrow seven was quite interesting. Spacey and Freeman are excellent. 4 stars
7/14/00 mark nairn they should all be this good 5 stars
7/11/00 Matthew Bartley Better than Lambs...very intricate and dense...also shit scary 5 stars
5/26/00 mama grrrrreat movie! 5 stars
5/16/00 slick F#CKING THE BEST! 5 stars
5/01/00 Ummm..... puer crap! 1 stars
4/30/00 Norman Bates Not even killing that Gywneth Paltrow woman can save this!THUMBS DOWN! 1 stars
4/30/00 Matt stupid shite! 1 stars
4/29/00 Ehh... piece of shit(not shite-you spell it S-H-I-T!) 1 stars
3/31/00 Arnaldo Cruz awesome scrip and Fincher is great, a classic thriller 5 stars
3/22/00 Lame-Oh sone gross scenes, yucky ending, better than Scream 5 stars
3/09/00 Yankee It makes you think. Religion now scares me. Makes you stay up late. 5 stars
2/16/00 Kyle Broflovski Gwyneth Paltrow's head in a box...happy, happy, joy, joy...:-) 5 stars
12/05/99 Eric S. Ranks as one of the great dark thrillers of the century 5 stars
11/11/99 Ralf Behet Good Script. Great directing. great acting. very good movie. 5 stars
10/23/99 The Bomb 69 unbelievable, ending was disgusting 5 stars
9/26/99 Andrew Amazing film, Brad Pitts awesome 5 stars
9/05/99 Elizaveta This film leaves you completely speechless and fucked in the head. Brilliant. 5 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Overrated, but still good. Didn't care for it first time I saw it though. 4 stars
6/17/99 Coye The whole movie was sick. I loved it. 5 stars
5/08/99 BraveFan A story of redemption - you just have to work to find it... 5 stars
5/02/99 Brian Pietrzycki absolute dark, mordant masterpiece, superb acting, perfect use of mood and settings. 5 stars
4/08/99 Dave Gwyn Head - She needs to be put in the box for good. That flat chested thing. EWWWW 1 stars
3/10/99 Go Swans They should have kept Gwyneth in the box. 5 stars
3/10/99 Ah Dooey Better than 8mm, a real masterpiece. 5 stars
2/20/99 Piz great dark rollercoaster, Freeman is the star here, dry ending,but wicked fun 4 stars
2/18/99 Bishop Creepy. But good, the way they shoot the ending seen is great. Dark tints create the mood. 5 stars
2/09/99 Bob, Lord of Evil Hey Nibby, you're right. 5 stars
2/08/99 Nibby7 I think I'm the only person who found this film slow, predictable and uninspiring. 1 stars
2/02/99 Matthew Bartley Can Freeman do any wrong? Amovie of the decade 5 stars
11/28/98 Mr.Pink After Alien3 I said that Fincher's a great director,everybody laughed.This was paybacktime! 5 stars
11/24/98 Fred If I were Brad, I'd have shot him, then myself. 5 stars
11/21/98 little jerry this film brings the serial killer genre to an electrifying FULL STOP.END OF THE LINE. 5 stars
11/16/98 Jules Opening credits were the best part. Predictable and ooh, sooo "disturbing" ending. 4 stars
10/21/98 Sailor Moon Ate My Balls What's with these sissy 7 Deadly Sins? Great movie, what else? 5 stars
10/19/98 Kwyjibo Unbelievable film. As gruesome as anything I've seen. 5 stars
10/17/98 eric sin-chan that movie doesn't make sense 2 stars
10/13/98 joseph brad blows--not scared--not religious 1 stars
10/13/98 jym okay film morgan freeman saved it---brad pitt's gotta go 2 stars
9/28/98 Heather Very very dark. Don't watch this one alone. 5 stars
9/28/98 {{{OZ}}} Just a total kickass burnin' my retinas movie event. Awesome. 5 stars
9/19/98 Badass Wow! 4 stars
9/17/98 Chuck-D Scared the shit outta me 5 stars
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  22-Sep-1995 (R)


  02-Nov-1995 (R)

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