A veteran detective teams with a rookie to investigate a
serial killer using the seven deadly sins to play a deadly game.
Directed by David Fincher
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker
Starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow,
Kevin Spacey, R. Lee Ermey, Richard Roundtree, John C. McGinley
Oscar Nominations - Best Film Editing
Se7en may just be the greatest serial killer movie ever made. The pairing of veteran character actor Morgan Freeman and rookie movie star in the making Brad Pitt was sheer brilliance, and reinforces the dynamic of their characters perfectly. Then you've got a truly frightening Kevin Spacey as the enigmatic killer known only as John Doe, one of 90s cinema's most evil bastards. This is the film that introduced the world to David Fincher, a filmmaker who truly sees the world a little bit differently than the rest of us. Fincher's world is bleak, unforgiving, and cruel, and every film he's made reflects these themes. But it started with Se7en.
Det. Somerset (Freeman) is nearing retirement when a big fat white whale of a case falls into his lap. A serial killer is creating elaborate tableaus based on the seven deadly sins. The first murder involves a morbidly obese man who was forced to eat spaghetti until his stomach exploded, a nod to gluttony. Somerset teams with trigger-happy rookie Det. Mills (Pitt) to catch this guy, and with every murder, their sanity is continuously tested. The standout murder is sloth, where John Doe strapped a pedophile to a bed and let him rot for an entire year, keeping him alive only barely. It's an unforgettable scene that propels the film out of crime thriller and into genuine horror.
Se7en's climax is arguably its most famous scene, with Pitt repeatedly shouting "What's in the box!?" at the top of his lungs. But everything that gets us there is so worth it. It's an ending that's unforgettable because of how uncompromising it is. The villain essentially wins, and there's no going back. Few films have the balls to do something like that, but in the hands of Fincher, I'd expect nothing less.