Se7en starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman

“He’s not the devil. He’s just a man”

The scariest quote in the film in my opinion.

But what a comeback from last week’s lackluster Taxi Driver. Now this is what epitomizes the genre “psychological thriller” for me. The film wasn’t only about defining the characters and plot, but defining its viewers. Through the course of the story it separates the Somersets from the Millses. By the end, you’re either screaming at Mills (Pitt) to shoot John Doe or for him to drop the gun. It’s hard to make a definite decision, but I would lean toward the latter. Nothing would have destroyed John Doe more than for Mills to drop the gun and walk away. His whole operation would have been ruined.

Though, if that is what had happened, David Mills wouldn’t have been Wrath after all.

It’s such a tangled web of a plot that I’m finding it difficult to make the distinction between, “am I solving a puzzle?” or “have I fallen into a plot hole”? While I was watching the movie I was caught up in all the action. I mean, a cinematic score really does wonders. Now I see why some people like to listen to music when they read. But now that I’ve had time to think about the film, I’ve been considering how the sequence of events would have occurred in a novel, and if I would have bought them just as easily. Honestly, the one hang-up I have is that John Doe had been preparing his Sloth for a whole year, which means premeditation. We know he’s a patient man and took the time to search out his victims and torture them. Yet, how long did it take him to decide that Mills would be Wrath? Mills had just moved to the city to work as a detective. He did have a five-year career prior to this, but until this case, what could have drawn John Doe to him? All we know about Mills’s old career was that he saw one of his partners get killed on the job. Was Doe just envious of his lifestyle? That theory completes his “purpose” of gathering together all seven deadly sins, but my question is did John Doe go into this killing spree knowing who each of his victims would be before he started? Or did he just “let the spirit move him” and kill as the inspiration hit? That seems a little unorganized for him, and that is why that aspect is my one criticism–or quibble–if you will plot-wise.

By the time the credits began rolling, believe me, so was my mind. When Mills, Somerset, and Doe were riding in the car to the “location” I was sure that Mills and Somerset were the last two “victims”. There was not one doubt in my mind; I thought Mills was going to be Wrath and Somerset Envy. Mills was Wrath for obvious reasons, and Somerset was Envy because Mills had everything he never got: a wife, the potential for a family, a life outside of work. But, still, I could see how Envy wouldn’t completely match up.

Then when we found out Doe was Envy, I thought for sure Mills was going to commit suicide. I thought there was going to be that twist ending and he’d turn that gun on himself. But he fulfilled John Doe’s plan in the end and gave into the wrath. I was disappointed at first. It was a twist ending in a way, with Doe embodying one of the seven deadly sins, but then once we found out the plan, nobody could have ignored the potential outcome that finally came to fruition. It also slightly bothered me that, if one wants to be technical, there were eight deaths, not seven, because Mills’s wife was pregnant. Though I guess Doe didn’t account for that so he worked with what he had. (And may I just say, Kevin Spacey was superb. He was only active for the last half of the film and he stole the show. Excellent actor.)

As I said earlier, Seven was such a comeback for me after watching Taxi Driver which was a little too abstract for my taste. I like a good balance of hidden meaning and a certain understanding of the killer’s motives. Seven checked both boxes, leaving me with questions, but not too many that I would call bluff. Overall, it was a satisfying last film to be viewed in our course.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Chad pritt says:

    Excellent point about working on sloth for a year. It’s super creepy that he’s so calculating, yet in control enough to improvise.

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  2. Kristin says:

    I think it was meeting Mills that made John Doe escalate. Mills had everything that Doe had ever wanted. So Mills decided that he would take it from him. I agree with Chad, it’s extra creepy to have a killer who has so much patience, but can improvise without screwing things up.
    Also, that line is poignant. We don’t need mythic monsters to represent evil. Human beings are capable of the most heinous things.

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  3. grcope says:

    Yeah, I agree that John Doe chose Mills to take part in his eff’d up morality play when he met him at the first crime scene. If he had someone else already chosen, and that person never knew … Man! Talk about a close call.

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